Words: ACFC Media
Friday 19 January 2018
AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Emiliano Tade is set to make a comeback from injury as Auckland City FC chase their first win of 2018 at Canterbury United on Sunday.
The club's all-time leading scorer was injured in the Navy Blues bruising Super City showdown with Waitakere United on January 7 but now looks ready to lead the front line at English Park.
With Ryan De Vries move to FC Gifu completed today the Navy Blues have a shortage in strike power with Kris Bright injured and the impressive but raw Callum McCowatt in good form.
Coach Ramon Tribulietx is optimistic Tade will be ready for a game where Auckland City FC must impress in.
"Emiliano should be all good to go on Sunday - he had a minor muscular injury and we decided to not risk him last weekend understanding the demands of the period of consecutive games we have ahead of us.
"With the departure of Ryan De Vries and the injury to Kris Bright, Emi is probably our only out-and-out striker available at this stage and therefore it is great to have him available.
"Emi is a very resilient player that aims to improve his football all the time, his mobility provides a lot in possession for the team and his eye for the goal is a key too," he said.
Only two points separates the top three in the ISPS Handa Premiership but fourth placed Canterbury can throw a spanner in the works if they can topple Auckland City FC like they almost did to Waitakere United last week.
With Eastern Suburbs AFC set for midweek and then an away trip to Hamilton Wanderers just around the corner, Tribulietx can't afford to look too far ahead/
"As always we have to look at whats in front of us first - Canterbury is our next game and we are focused on that.
"We will look at rotating our squad in a way that can help us get the most out of the three games.
"We'll assess how we are after each game as we look to the next but again its vital we focus first on Canterbury and our prep is focused on the way to play that game," he told www.aucklandcityfc.com
On the recruitment front, midfielder Sam Burfoot has re-signed for the club after two years away from the Navy Blues set-up.
Burfoot was part of the Auckland City FC side that won the ISPS Handa Premiership, OFC Champions League, OFC President's Cup and FIFA Club World Cup bronze medal in 2014-15. Burfoot was also part of the Birkenhead United side that won the ISPS Handa Chatham Cup.
Tribulietx was pleased to see Burfoot return to Kiwitea Street.
"Sam has always been very suitable for our style of play. We hope he can give us that quality and continuity in possession that for the way we play is very important to us," he said.
Tribulietx is working on bringing in at least another two new faces to strengthen the squad before the transfer window closes with Bright, Dan Morgan and midfielder Owen Parker-Price at various stages of injury recovery.
"Owen is ticking over and not too far away from returning to training with the team and how he tracks will determine when exactly that happens," Tribulietx added.
ISPS Handa Premiership
Sunday 21 January 2018
Canterbury United v Auckland City FC
English Park, Christchurch
Kick-off: 2pm NZST
AC (from): 1. Enaut Zubikarai (GK), 2. Liam Graham, 3. Takuya Iwata, 4. Mario Bilen, 5. Angel Berlanga (c), 6. Te Atawhai Hudson-Wihongi, 7. Cam Howieson, 8. Albert Riera, 9. Darren White, 11. Fabrizio Tavano, 12. Kris Bright, 13. Alfie Rogers, 15. Dan Morgan, 17. Reid Drake, 19. Micah Lea'alafa, 20. Emiliano Tade, 21. Harry Edge, 23. Marko Dordevic, 24. Conor Tracey (GK), 26. Callum McCowatt, 27. Dalton Wilkins.
Coach: Ramon Tribulietx