Rovers footballers aim to shine on "Old Timers" Day
Napier City Rovers Central League football team's player-coach Bill Robertson has yet to give up in the Blues quest to qualify for next summer's new-look National League.
Robertson (pictured above) pointed out if third-placed Lower Hutt remain in the top three in the Central League competition then the fourth-placed side will also qualify.
"With eight rounds remaining Western Suburbs, Wairarapa United, Waterside Karori, us and even North Wellington have a chance of finishing fourth. That will contribute to some interesting last few rounds of the season," Robertson explained on the eve of sixth-placed Thirsty Whale Napier City Rovers 12th round clash against second-placed Wellington Olympic at Napier's Bluewater Stadium tomorrow.
"Obviously we're focusing on the top four now we no longer have a chance of retaining the Chatham Cup [Rovers lost 3-0 to Western Suburbs in round three last weekend] but if we don't qualify there will be other measurements of the team's success like the high number of young players we have introduced and developed at Central League level this season," Robertson said.
Rovers have an extra incentive to cause an upset tomorrow. It will be Old Timers Day at Bluewater Stadium and if previous seasons are any indication up to 120 former players could join the regulars in the crowd.
"Hopefully we can put on a good performance," centre back Robertson said.
However, he acknowledged the hosts have a tough assignment with three key senior players unavailable. In-form midfielder Liam Schofield is serving a one-game suspension after receiving his fifth yellow card of the season against Suburbs last weekend.
The Blues top goal scorer in Central League play, Josh Stevenson, and fellow striker, Cam Emerson, are both injured.
"Playing without those three is a big blow but it does provide opportunities for players in our wider squad," Robertson said.
He also agreed Wellington Olympic will arrive in Napier with a star-studded team.
"They recruited really well this year and their squad if full of players with National League experience. We just have to focus on doing what we can ... both with our attacking principles and when we are out of possession," Robertson added.
The full Napier City Rovers team for tomorrow's 2pm clash:
Oscar Mason (GK), Luca Barclay, Isaac Belcher, Sam Wall, Zac Madsen, Kaelin Nguyen, Ethan Ladd, Jim Hoyle (captain), Fergus Neil, Luke Minshull, Bill Robertson, Ben Wade, Isaac Milley, Reon Werahiko (GK).