• United's teen forward eyes more minutes

United's teen forward eyes more minutes

Zac Madsen has had a taste of New Zealand Football Championship play and is hungry for more.

The 19-year-old wide forward got the final five minutes of Thirsty Whale Hawke's Bay United's 2-1 ISPS Handa Premiership seventh round victory against Eastern Suburbs in Auckland last weekend. Madsen is hoping for more minutes when the Bay lads host first equal Team Wellington in Sunday's eighth round match at Bluewater Stadium.

"Last weekend's win was a good start to the New Year. It was definitely a step up from Central League play ... although I wasn't too involved as we were just defending to try and get the win," Madsen explained as he reflected on his Premiership debut.

"Hopefully I'll get a few more minutes this weekend."

While the product of the Hawke's Bay United youth system who started football as a four-year-old at the Taradale club before moving to Napier City Rovers in his 12th grade year has a bright future as a wide forward he has also played left back, striker and wing.

"I'm just happy to play where I'm needed," Madsen said after another physical day on the job with Efficient Moving and Storage.

He pointed out the hosts aren't short of intelligence on Team Wellington who Hawke's Bay United beat 4-3 in a pre-season clash and lost 2-1 to in the first round of the Premiership.

"They are quite physical and have a lot of attacking threats. They will bring a bit of aggression and we have to bring it to Bluewater too," Madsen added. 

Hawke's Bay United co-coach and centre back Bill Robertson confirmed co-captain and fellow defender Jim Hoyle is likely to be unavailable for a second consecutive week with his ankle sprain.

However Robertson pointed out his troops will be full of confidence after two consecutive wins. At the same time they know how tough Sunday's assignment will be.

"Team Wellington are unbeaten for a reason. It's important we stick to our principles in and out of possession.

"It will take moments of quality to open them up but that will happen if we perfect our principles," Robertson explained.

Meanwhile Hoyle, Hawke's Bay United's other co-captain Fergus Neil and fellow defender Liam Schofield, who was unavailable for Hawke's Bay United this summer, have all re-signed with Napier City Rovers for the 2021 winter campaign. 

The full Hawke's Bay United squad for Sunday's 1pm clash:
Scott Morris, Jackson Woods, Kaeden Atkins, Cory Vickers, Hugo Delhommelle, Karan Mandair, J C Mack, Gavin Hoy, Sam Pickering, Ahmad Othman, Cameron Emerson, Jarrod McKechnie, Fergus Neil (captain), Sam Wall, Zac Madsen, Bill Robertson, Oscar Mason, Jorge Akers.