The soccer ball is definitely a more acceptable shape and has a more predictable bounce but Havelock North Wanderers aren't shy to steal coaching ideas that work with the funny-shaped one - rugby.

"We have a three-pronged approach. In most coaching environments I've been in we've tried to have a different leadership approach," says coach Chris Greatholder of the Building King-sponsored villagers before they kick off in their historic Ultra Football Central League match at 1pm tomorrow.

The Ethan Dent-captained Wanderers host Miramar Rangers at Guthrie Park in their first Central League game in more than a decade.

"We're all excited about it because it's the first big game we're playing at home in 13 to 14 years Central League-wise so we'll be ready," says Greatholder, who embraces the input of his assistants, Dion Adams and Bruce Barclay.

Advertisement

Greatholder isn't a fan of a one-voice operation in mentoring.

"Bruce has got different strengths and skills, the same as Dion and the same as myself so why not combine the three of us."

Greatholder sees himself as the "grass coach", while police officer Barclay does control a lot of stuff "behind the scenes" as well as the mental preparation.

Adams brings vast experience and spots things Greatholder can't in defence.

The coach says the trio meet each week to discuss individuals - some need a bit of a cuddle while others require a "kick up the bum".

"We get to know out who responds in different methodologies to squeeze as much as we can out of the squad."

The villagers, he says, have sprung no surprises in the way the team started because they've got to adapt to the pace of the game with quicker decision-making in the league.

"Then going forward some of the guys have learned a hell of a lot from the past two games," says Greatholder after they lost 2-0 to Stop Out and 6-0 to Wellington United away.

Advertisement

"It's a big game for us at the weekend so it's a game we have to target for some points and, at least, score our first goal to give us the belief that we can compete and that we're good enough.

"The worst thing we can do right now is to fear this journey. We're not quite ready in some aspects. In some of them we're quite close."

Greatholder says it's a good time to play the visitors because several of their top men are away with Team Wellington on the O-League campaign: "They will be very strong in the second half of the season so it's a very good time to play them now."

The Wanderers don't know much about them except that they are youthful.

Former Napier Marist player Vinny McKirdie comes into the squad after Che Jesson-Bentley collected two yellow cards in the loss to Wellington United last weekend.

"We think he's ready for the next stage of his footballing career and Marist have wished him well so he joined our squad last week.

"He's a little surprised by the intensity, from the level he's been playing at, but he's been looking sharp at training so it's good to have him in our plans," says Greatholder.

Former Napier City Rovers midfielder Oliver Chapman comes into the equation after a hiatus but the team are on track to bring in two new players into the squad late next week.

WANDERERS: 1 Shaun Peta (GK), 2 Chris Greatholder, 4 Campbell Whitworth, 5 Guy Reeves, 6 Vinnie MacKirdy, 7 James Barclay, 8 Ethan Dent (c), 10 Ben Foxall, 11 Harry Fautley, 12 Kenneth Willox, 13 Oliver Chapman, 14 Kurtis Maney, 15 Sam Waddington, 16 Jackson Ralph, 17 Liam Shackleton, 18 Stefan Kitching-Nicholson, 22 William Kimber (RGK).

Coach: Chris Greatholder.
Ast coaches: Dion Adams, Bruce Barclay.