The return of striker Mitchell Miller is set to give Ngongotaha AFC some much needed firepower up front in their upcoming double header.
Ngongotaha have a busy period in Northern League Division 2. They travel to take on a tough Claudelands Rovers at Galloway Park tomorrow followed by a midweek game against Mangere Utd on Tuesday.
The league table isn't happy reading for the Ngongotaha club or fans at the moment - the Rotorua team prop up the division after banking just one point, after three games, leaving them two points adrift at the bottom but with two games in hand.
Up front the Rotorua team have struggled this season, scoring two goals while conceding six. But Ngongotaha coach Shane Davis said he was pleased with the return of several key players including last season's top scorer Miller, who has been unavailable for his team's last two matches.
"Mitchell is likely to start... most probably out wide because that gives him more options and in many respects he needs to start. Hopefully we'll create more chances.
"It hasn't affected us having the break and the cancelled games did us a favour in many ways. Everyone is very aware that we have slipped down the table and we have to start getting the points - we need them and even a draw against Claudelands would do."
Davis admitted shooting practice had increased in recent weeks.
"Goal shooting practice has upped, I don't know if it will help or not but a lot of the boys have also been working in their own time in front of goal."
Claudelands will be tough opposition for Ngongotaha, sitting in joint-fifth on seven points with Northland FC (fourth) and Papakura City (sixth). Claudelands have two wins, including last Tuesday's 4-1 victory against Papatoetoe AFC, a draw and a loss from their opening four matches.
Ngongotaha will be at full strength with the return of midfielder Alan Ferguson and attacking player Yamil Casas.
Davis said he expected the battle to be won or lost in midfield.
"Claudelands are really strong at home and we will be up against it," he said. "In midfield it will be a challenge and whoever gets a grip of the game there will most likely get the result."
Ngongotaha's home match against Mangere has already been circled as a "must-win" by Davis.
"We'll be looking to get all three against Mangere, we need all those points. Hopefully we'll pick up a good amount over these next two matches and push up the table."
Northern League, Division Two fixtures:
Waiheke Utd AFC v Northland FC, Northland FC, *kick-off 2.45pm.
Claudelands Rovers v Ngongotaha AFC, Galloway Park 1
Mangere Utd v Fencibles Utd, Centre Park 1
Papatoetoe AFC v Takapuna AFC, Murdoch Park 1
Te Atatu AFC v Onehunga Mangere, Te Atatu Peninsula Park 1
Papakura City v Albany Utd, McLennan Park 1, *kick-off 5pm.
Ngongotaha AFC v Mangere Utd, Stembridge Rd, *kick-off 2.45pm.
Northland FC v Papatoetoe AFC, Tikipunga Park 1, *kick-off 2.45pm.
Onehunga Mangere v Waiheke Utd AFC, Mangere Domain 1
Fencibles Utd v Papakura City, Riverhills Park 1
Takapuna AFC v Claudelands Rovers, Taharoto Park 1
Te Atatu AFC v Albany Utd, Te Atatu Peninsula Park 1