All hands on deck for Melville

It’s backs-to-the-wall stuff for Melville as they host Manukau United at Gower Park today (July 18).

Melville are still chasing their first win of the season and have been hit by unavailability on multiple fronts.

Coach Sam Wilkinson has been suspended in the wake of his reaction to last week’s massive derby refereeing cock-up, in which the officials were unable to figure out the correct rules for encroachment during a penalty kick.

And assistant coach Aaron Scott is also suspended after being sent off in the 92nd minute of that match.

In the circumstances Melville’s academy director Roger Wilkinson is likely to sit on the bench. The prospect of Wilkinson coaching against another veteran in Manukau’s Kevin Fallon will be a trip down Memory Lane to when they did likewise in the 1980s and early 1990s. (The last time they did so head-to-head was possibly 1993 when Wilkinson was coach of Waikato United and Fallon was with Central United.)

Melville will also be without the services of Kieran Richards, who has a foot in a moon boot, while fellow attackers Mark Jones and Steven Holloway are also under injury clouds.

Harry Mason is set to make his debut, while watch for a couple of youngsters to also debut off the bench.

Manukau have been unbeaten in their past three matches.

# It’s the Melville post-Covid Toga party at the Gower clubrooms on Saturday August 1. Entry is $5 – or $40 without a toga.

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