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Waitakere United picks new squad to chase ASB Premiership and a return to the O League

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The coming ASB Premiership season has the potential to see Waitakere United regain its pre-eminence in New Zealand football and shoulder its way back into the international O (Oceania) League after a poor performance in the 2013/14 season.

Incoming CEO Bill MacGowan has spent the year re-structuring the administration side of Waitakere United off the field, in order to create the platform on the field from which the franchise can launch its campaign to win back both the premiership and a place in the international game.

The Trusts is proud to be a major sponsor of Waitakere United, alongside The Trusts Community Foundation, Pegasus Trust, Lion Founation and Lotto Sports.

The new coaching set-up, with player-coach Brian Shelley doing an off-season recruitment drive to pick a team that is stacked with talent, sees only four “survivors” from last season.

Luke Adams, one of the country’s brightest young prospects will be back in the heart of the Waitakere United defence after spells with the Phoenix, the All Whites and English Championship club Derby County.

Adams will form a centre-back pairing with Shelley in front of veteran “Goalkeeper of the decade”, Danny Robinson.

Irish-born Shelley is himself a seasoned footballer, having spent time with Shamrock Rovers, Bohemian, Drogheda and Carlisle United before emigrating to turn out for Ballarat Red Devils before settling at Fred Taylor Park.

In a busy off-season he also enticed former All White Andy Boyens, former New Zealand U-23 rep Tristan Prattley and youth internationals Harshae Raniga and Alec Solomons to help Waitakere United chase down its sixth ASB Premiership title and make Auckland City’s reign at the top a brief one.

Another pair of players who leapt into Shelley’s net are former professional and All Whites David Mulligan and Tom Biss, both of whom performed with distinction at Hawke’s Bay United.

It’s a homecoming of sorts for Mulligan, who grew up in Auckland and had a season at Waitakere in 2012-13. Meanwhile, Biss is also no stranger to the West, having played for his new team in this year’s OFC Champions League.

Other players already signed are former Auckland City striker Adam Dickinson, Chris Bale, Rory Turner, Dean Lausev, Dylan Manickum, George Curry, Ed Sillars and young goalkeeper Alex Carr.

With the club in a solid financial position and able to attract such a strong squad, Bill MacGowan and Brian Shelley, are quietly confident that this year can see the franchise back in its traditional position as the ASB Premiership champions and back in the O League with its wealth of international opportunities and experience for players.

2014/15 home games
13 Dec v Canterbury
at Fred Taylor Park, 2pm

1 Feb v Southern
at Fred Taylor, 1pm

8 Feb v Phoenix Youth
at Fred Taylor, 2pm

21 Feb v Waikato Bay of Plenty
at Fred Taylor, 2pm

14 Mar v Wellington
at Fred Taylor, 2pm