In a league it's given that teams will slip but for Napier City Rovers it's ensuring others don't end up deciding their fate at the business end.

"The last seven games are all cup finals and we need to make sure we win every single one of them. If we do that then the job will be done and we'll win the league," says veteran Thirsty Whale-sponsored Blues player Danny Wilson.

"If we slip up then we'll be reliant on others to do it for us," says Wilson before the James Hoyle-captained side host Wellington Olympic in round 12 of the Ultra Football Central League campaign from 2pm at Park Island, Napier, tomorrow.

Focusing on each game, as if they were cup finals, and treating them like "bite-sized chunks" are imperative.


He rates Argentina's Mario Barcia, returning from the Team Wellington O-League campaign, as the best centre-mid in the country.

"He's a natural player and his work rate on the ball makes him pretty much an all-round midfielder."

Wilson, a defender, who turns 35 on Sunday next week, didn't play in the league and Chatham Cup losses in Wellington during Queen's Birthday weekend a fortnight ago.

However, when he returned to their first training the Blues were down a bit in the changing rooms but it sparked "something else within us".

"We saw it as disappointing but we've got this sort of determination from the two losses which put the focus back into doing the business in the league," he says.

The Rovers' 3-1 victory over a strong Miramar Rangers last Sunday saw them play the visitors "off the park" because of their hunger for another game to scramble back into the saddle.

Wilson believes the defeats became a catalyst to make things happen, rather than wait for them to occur.

"It's a wake-up call, really, and a good one in that we are re-lighting every game and working harder so we've learned a lot from the losses."


It pleases the veteran to see the young brigade rise to the occasion.

While they didn't want to concede too many goals, he sees a high-scoring affair (7-5) against Wairarapa United late last month as mission accomplished in claiming three points.

The hosts have scored 42 goals and conceded 20 to date. They lead the league on 27 points, two above Stop Out.

However, Wilson sees third-placed defending champions Advance Electrical Western Suburbs, on 24 points, as the threat.

"I think the way Declan [Edge] and [Ben] Sippola know what they are doing and are quite a professional outfit. We still have to go down there to play them so that'll be a big crunch game, to be honest," he says of the coach and his assistant, respectively.

The Greeks are fourth but out of the running, in some respects, with 18 points.

The loss of midfielder Leo Via to suspension, he reckons, will help the Blues' cause.

"They don't have the core team of Mikey Halikias, Jimmy Hadaikis and Chas Lawrence but they're a proud club Olympic and they won't come to Bluewater Stadium to lie down for us," he says.

Wilson, a lending specialist at ASB bank in Napier, is enjoying playing while spending quality time with wife Lauren and their two children, Henry, 3, and Violet, 2.

No doubt, staying fit at his age is paramount for a bloke who has won two league crowns with the Rovers but also shared the heartache of losing two Chatham Cup finals.

"I'm just taking it game by game, not looking at the whole season - that could drag out for me," he says.

Wilson has had nine seasons with the flagship Rovers team, after one season with Napier Marist across the road at the Pacific Premiership level.

Preparing himself mentally for a game is high on the agenda these days.

He realises the young guns of the league are rolling into town now and he is in the twilight of his career with a fulltime job, wife and two kids.

"My body's wearing out but I'm going to compete myself again to show I'm still defending and I can do my job.

"So I'm challenging myself to prove to myself and others I can still cut it at that level."

So who is going to win the Fifa World Cup in Russia?

Wilson's heart is with England but his head says the boys from Brazil.