NSU seek ticket into top half

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After falling to a 1-0 defeat against Manurewa two weeks ago, North Shore United are looking to bounce back when they gear up to face Hibiscus Coast in Round Nine of the Lotto NRFL Men’s Division One. 

However, North Shore gaffer Paul Harkness, admits the fixture will prove to be no easy task and stresses the importance of nabbing the three points in-order for North Shore to springboard into the top half of the league table.

“We’re in a similar position to Hibiscus Coast on the table, similar points, it’s two teams who are hoping they get on some sort of run again and find some form, that they could push themselves up into the top group again.”

“Other teams in the league would be thinking about taking the opportunity to win those games to push themselves higher up in the table, that’s how we’re looking at it.”

“We will respect them, we will respect them, but we need concentrate on what we’re doing to get ourselves in order to make sure we give ourselves the best possible chance of winning the game.”

After taking the reigns as head coach of North Shore United in October last year, Harkness implemented the focus and policy to bring forward and develop young players into the first team environment.

“The demands of playing in the league for a young player is quite high, with opportunities for them to play in this league happening everywhere.”

“With young players what you sometimes get is the inconsistencies in performances and we’re here for those players to make sure we help them in growing and developing as a player so we’re fully aware that we get highs and lows with young players.”

“If we can get some sort of consistency with them, we do feel we could be pushing towards the top end of the table, but as long as we make sure we’re working hard, and we’re focused then we take each game as it comes.”

One of those players, Rocky Bashir has made an instant impact for Shore this season, starting in seven out of eight matches, Bashir has two goals to his name already.

North Shore’s Rahman Bashir on the move.

“Rocky is one of a number of young players that came into the squad this year and that was our policy that we were going to go with in terms of our young players, he’s one of the many from various clubs or overseas who’ve come in and done well.”

Bashir opened his goal scoring account against Mount Albert-Ponsonby in Round four and scored a week later against, Oratia United.

The match will also be played in support of pink shirt day, with North Shore United’s first team warming up in pink to support the cause.

“It’s just again really about creating awareness that these are real life situations that are happening to people and just really wanted to create awareness and support to those people and also to the wider community” Harkness said.

“For us, pink shirt day is to show support of mental health awareness and anti-bullying campaigns, last year we raised money for a charity and we asked everyone who came to the game to wear something pink and we’re doing it again this year.”

The match will kick off at 3pm at Allen Hill Stadium on Saturday.

Other Lotto NRFL Men’s Division One fixtures:

Melville United v Ellerslie AFC – Gower Park
Tauranga City v Waiheke United – Links Ave
Fencibles United v Manurewa AFC – Riverhills Park
Oratia United v Waitemata – Parrs Park
Mt Albert-Ponsonby v Forrest Hill – Anderson Park

Lotto NRFL Men’s Division One League Table: