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World Cup hopefuls out to impress in O-League

New Zealand coach Ricki Herbert and his assistant Brian Turner have confirmed their attendance at the crucial Group A decider which kicks off at 3:00pm on Sunday at Kiwitea Street in Sandringham.
Auckland City midfielder Chad Coombes made his All Whites debut against Mexico earlier this month and says he is hoping to back that up with another good performance.
“This is a massive game for so many reasons. I just want to play well, not make too many mistakes and keep my cool,” says the 26-year-old PE teacher.
The versatile Coombes, who has played at full-back, right midfield and striker, says he doesn’t mind where he plays this Sunday.
“Against Waitakere I usually prefer playing up front and I’ve scored in the last two games against them. But if I’m in a defensive role then I’ll be up against Roy (Krishna) or Benji (Totori) so that will be a good test of my abilities.”
Teammate Jason Hayne also had a late call up for the one-off match against Mexico but was not used by Herbert during the 2-0 loss. The 23-year-old midfielder will be keen to impress along with outside hopefuls James Pritchett and Jacob Spoonley while veteran central defender Ivan Vicelich will want a strong showing after missing the last All Whites match through suspension.
In the Waitakere camp, full-back Aaron Scott says he’s not going to think too much about who is watching from the sideline.
“Obviously it’s at the back of your mind but what’s at the forefront is playing well and ensuring we win the match,” says the Hamilton-based defender who has five caps for New Zealand.
Scott was a substitute in both World Cup qualifying matches against Bahrain but was not selected for the Mexico match. The 23-year-old says the disappointment of missing that match has given him extra motivation to improve his game.
“I’ve been doing a lot of work aiming to peak for this match and I’d like to say I’m close to hitting my best form.”
Strikers Brent Fisher and Alan Pearce, who have been involved in New Zealand teams in the past, will also be out to prove a point this weekend.
Waitakere player-coach Neil Emblem is delighted Herbert will be at the match and says it will be the perfect opportunity for players to stake their claim.
“I believe players at this level should be looked at and the All Whites management must think the same otherwise they wouldn’t be coming on Sunday,” said Emblen.
“It would be fantastic if we can get players from both clubs to earn selection for New Zealand and go on to play at the biggest football competition in the world.”
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