They are still tweaking under the bonnet in the "garage" at Park Island, Napier, but rest assured when the cylinders, carburettor and crankshaft are synchronised it'll purr like a jungle cat.

Yes, co-coaches Chris Greatholder and Bill Robertson are fine tuning the American, Canadian and English components of the latest Thirsty Whale Hawke's Bay United model to ensure it'll be speedy, sleek and stylish for the national summer league kicking off next month.

The Triple S action of Sacramento (Dylan), Selemani (Ahinga) and Signey (John) is expected to provide the torque for the opening match of the premiership, which kicks off against Auckland City FC at 4.30pm at the Bluewater Stadium this Saturday.

"We've worked hard to recruit what we think are great players but great people as well so we've done our due diligence," says Greatholder, revealing it included phone conversations as well as viewing videotaped footage of them in action.

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"We had a lot of CVs thrown our way and these three stood out for us."

Without intending to load the trio with pressure, he expects the imports to inspire the rest of the squad in helping make a difference in the premiership.

Greatholder says Sacramento possesses tidy feet and fantastic technique, which will see him fulfil a creative role.

"He unlocks defences and is easy on the eyes so he's technically gifted and will, hopefully, excite the punters this season."

Selemani's fleet footedness and physicality with hard-work ethics captures the co-coaches' imagination.

"He's got good technique, is really talented, is a nice guy and will score goals."

Hawke's Bay United co-coaches Chris Greatholder (left) and Bill Robertson are sticking to the franchise's mission statement to woo fans back to Park Island this summer and beyond. Photo/file
Hawke's Bay United co-coaches Chris Greatholder (left) and Bill Robertson are sticking to the franchise's mission statement to woo fans back to Park Island this summer and beyond. Photo/file

The American striker has a knack for creating channels on the park and seems hungry to be the point of difference in any given equation.

Signey is from Manchester but has arrived here after a stint in Iceland.

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"He's a box-to-box midfielder who is quite combative but he can score as well so we're quite excited he can add a lot there in the midfield with his presence," says Greatholder after the squad started scrimmaging since late last month.

The trio, he says, know what their portfolios are and the noise they are making at training nights at the back field at Park Island is encouraging.

Goalkeeper Ruben Parker Hanks headlines the other players who have represented Napier City Rovers to Chatham Cup glory.

Greatholder says Hanks is a true-and-tried quantity who is returning to a familiar environment to help lead the campaign.

"He's mature now and a fantastic keeper," he says. "I don't think there are many better than him around, to be honest with you, so, again, we had a choice of a few goalkeepers and we chose him to be our No 1."

Japan midfielder Sho Goto, Canadian Gavin Hoy and Englishman Liam Schofield are in the mix after a memorable winter with the Blues, who were runners up in the Central League campaign last winter.

Greatholder and Robertson are working on Jonny McNamara and James Hoyle as part of the commitment.

"Look, Hawke's Bay United have been pretty transparent in the past six months or so with some of the decisions they've made."

The homegrown talent include Jack Parker, Kenny Willox, Kaeden Atkins and veteran Fergus Neil.

"We kind of know what the community has told us it wants from Hawke's Bay United so we're taking a punt in certain respects with some of these local boys but they've got to get in that environment where we can help them train with better intensity and better quality of players around them to ensure some of these boys can fly."

Greatholder says some of that has become evident at training in the players' propensity to adapt well to variables amid "standout performances".

He expects some of the homegrown talent to be in the starting XI against Auckland City.

"It's brilliant that we've been able to give them a platform so, hopefully, that'll give some inspiration to our youth teams and other boys who are coming through the ranks that they can make it through Hawke's Bay United."

Auckland City have José Figueira, the Team Wellington coach last season, at their helm after the departure of Ramon Tribulietx.

"We do expect them to play a certain style so their philosophy wouldn't be changing too much, I'd like to think," he says.

Greatholder suspects the premiership will be strong with robust recruitments and eight of the 10 franchise have new mentors.

Liam Schofield (foreground), Bill Robertson, James Hoyle, Kaeden Atkins and Gavin Hoy (background) are bringing the winning feeling from the Rovers' Chatham Cup victory. Photo/file
Liam Schofield (foreground), Bill Robertson, James Hoyle, Kaeden Atkins and Gavin Hoy (background) are bringing the winning feeling from the Rovers' Chatham Cup victory. Photo/file

"I suppose there's uncertainty with quality in their signings and former pros," he says, singling out Auckland City, Team Wellington and Eastern Suburbs as the three "big boys" in the national summer league.

Bay United's mission statement is to try to help their talent to be the best they can be but not lose sight of the burning desire to win matches for the province, sponsors and the fans.

"We want to see a result on the park but also have that development aspect where we've got to bring our local boys in for some different exposure which we believe will bring people through the gates.

"We want Park Island to be rocking this season and the way we've approached it so far with the togetherness of people have got involved with is really promising," says Greatholder.

2019-20 SQUAD

1 Ruben Parker Hanks (GK), 2 James Hoyle, 3 Liam Schofield, 4 Kaeden Atkins, 6 Jack Parker, 7 Sho Goto, 8 Karan Mandair, 9 Ahinga Selemani, 10 Dylan Sacramento, 11 Jonny McNamara, 12 Kenny Willox, 14 Gavin Hoy, 15 Josh Murphy, 16 Josh Signey, 17 Fergus Neil, 19 Bjorn Christensen, 20 Bill Robertson, 21 Shea Stapleton (RGK), 22 Ihaia Delaney, 23 Jorge Akers.

Co-coaches: Chris Greatholder, Bill Robertson.
GK coach: Gillespie Richard.
Manager: Calder Jimmy.
Physio: Alex Gairdner.
Video analyst: Tim Motu.