As good as versatile Hawke's Bay United football team substitute Bjorn Christensen is in his "Mr Fix It" role he doesn't want it.

"I want to push hard to become a starting player and that push starts this weekend," Christensen said on the eve of today's ISPS Handa Premiership third round clash against Tasman United at Napier's Bluewater Stadium.

The 25-year-old St John's College old boy who is in his third full season with United has been used as a substitute right wing back in the previous two rounds this season. Christensen wants a starting midfield role from next week.

"It know it's going to be quite hard to earn that because of the depth and talent we have in the squad this season. But it's good because you have got to work hard for it."


An EIT computer science student who completed his seventh winter with Havelock North Wanderers last winter after playing for Napier Rovers in 2018 is expecting Tasman United to adopt a direct approach today.

However Christensen was confident United had the necessary ammunition to cope with it.

"As long as we tidy up the one per centers and finish off strong we will be fine."

Thirsty Whale Hawke's Bay United co-coach and centre back Bill Robertson said the fact Christensen can be substituted on in any position makes him a valuable member of the side.

"We can put Bjorn on in any role when and if needed."

Robertson said the hosts are eager to use this home game to send the message out that Bluewater Stadium will become their fortress and it will become increasingly hard for visiting teams to come and take points away.

"We want to build on last week's effort where it was good to secure three points on the road," Robertson said referring to their away 4-3 win against Wellington Phoenix Reserves.

"There were periods when we dominated with sustained pressure. Now it's time for us to chase the full 90-minute effort."


Although Tasman United are winless after two rounds, Robertson pointed out they have been very competitive and a bit unlucky on occasions.

"We've studied footage of their games and they have certainly created a lot of chances. While it will be another tough game we're happy with where we are at," Robertson added.

It's crucial Hawke's Bay United improve their defensive effort during the final 10 minutes in the wake of last week's match.

More communication is also important. During their previous home game this season, a 3-2 loss to Auckland City, there wasn't enough chatter.

The fact Robertson and co-coach Chris Greatholder are fielding an unchanged line-up for the third consecutive week should work in the hosts' favour. More cohesion and more chatter comes as players become more familiar with one another and this Hawke's Bay United outfit shouldn't lack familiarity now.

After his hat-trick against Wellington Phoenix Reserves last weekend Hawke's Bay United's Canadian midfielder Dylan Sacramento, who is in his first season with the side, was named the Premiership's Player of the Week and was the sole Bay player selected in the Team of the Week.

It will be interesting to see if he can continue his goal-scoring exploits after shining with his defensive work on home turf in round one.

American striker Ahinga Selemani got on the score sheet last week and with quality service from the likes of Sacramento and fellow midfielder Josh Signey, as well as his own creative ability, he should be able to add to his tally today.

Other matches this weekend will see Hamilton Wanderers host Auckland City, Waitakere United host Canterbury United, Southern United host Eastern Suburbs and Team Wellington host Wellington Phoenix.

Teams for today's 4pm clash at Napier's Bluewater Stadium which will be televised live on Sky Sport:
Hawke's Bay United: 1. Ruben Parker (GK), 4. Kaeden Atkins, 6. Jack Parker, 7. Sho Goto, 8. Karan Mandair, 9. Ahinga Selemani, 10. Dylan Sacramento, 14. Gavin Hoy, 15. Josh Murphy, 16. Joshua Signey, 17. Fergus Neil, 19. Bjorn Christensen, 20. Bill Robertson, 21. Shea Stapleton, 22. Ihaia Delaney, 23. Jorge Akers. Coach: Chris Greatholder.

Tasman United: 1. Pierce Clark (GK), 2. William Scott, 3. Hamish Cadigan, 4. Hamish Noorzai, 5. Fox Slotemaker, 6. Cory Vickers, 7. Corey Larsen, 8. Matthew Tod-Smith, 9. Jean-Philippe Saiko, 10. Jama Boss, 11. Facundo Barbero, 12. Max Winterton, 15. La Bu Pan, 18. Alexis Varela, 20. Nick Stanton, 21. Jackson Manuel
Coach: Jess Ibrom