Confidence Growing in Birko’s Youth

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Birkenhead United’s head coach Paul Hobson has shown plenty of faith in his younger players and it’s beginning to pay off as the North Shore outfit is set to take big strides in-order to stay out of the bottom two of the Lotto NRFL Men’s Premier Division. Already, the club has a positive reputation on producing strong and talented youth players who’ve been able to stamp their mark on the league and with the side in a phase one transition, survival in the league is a must!

But for a very youthful team, Birkenhead have done well this season, with their recent form showcasing a collection of 10 points in their last five matches. A few weeks ago, the Paul Hobson coached side played out a powerful performance against last year’s league winners, Onehunga Sports, holding them to a 2-2 draw, which has led Hobson to praise his sides efforts so far this season.

“They’ve done really well so far this season, really happy with the boy’s attitudes as we’ve worked really hard as a group and are beginning to grow in confidence” Hobson said.

“I’ve always had confidence in the young players at the club, you get people who think it might be a risky task, but I don’t think any of it is, you have to stick to what you believe in and we want to be known as the club that gives young players a chance.”

“Around those young players, we have three to four players in the 24-25-Year-Old age range, who lead the young players by example, have great attitudes and have really bought into what we’re trying to do here.”

Birkenhead coach Paul Hobson. Photo: Shane Wenzlick /

With a squad of 30 players competing for a spot in the starting line up each week, only nine of those players are over the age of 20, leaving the average age of the side at 18.

But with the current league table falling into a tight, skinny league, a win for Birkenhead could widen their chances of  possibly finishing within the top five of the league. However, this isn’t in the mind of Hobson as he is solely focused on avoiding the bottom two and is excited to continuing this challenge when Birko gear up against a well drilled Central United side on Saturday.

“Considering the league is really tight, one bad week could send us falling further down the pecking order and we just want to stay out of the bottom two, the two sides currently there (Three Kings United & Bay Olympic), I believe they can fight their way out, so it’s going to be very interesting if they can” Hobson said.

“Every win from now on is important, we were pretty lucky to walk away last week against Western Springs with the points and I would say a draw would’ve been a fair result.”

“But we’re looking forward to the match against Central this weekend, they play a good brand of football, they have lots of good players and Aaron [McFarland] is a well respected coach, so hopefully we can do enough and deny them the chance to shine like we did last time out.”

The match is scheduled to kick off at 3pm at Shepherds Park.

Other Lotto NRFL Men’s Premier Division Fixtures:

Three Kings United v Onehunga Sports – Keith Hay Park
Waitakere City FC v Western Springs AFC – Fred Taylor Park
Manukau United v Eastern Suburbs AFC – Centre Park
Bay Olympic v Glenfield Rovers – Olympic Park
Hamilton Wanderers v East Coast Bays – Porritt Stadium

All matches are scheduled to kick off at 3pm.

Lotto NRFL Men’s Premier Division League Table: