The clash between two teams coming off big pre-Christmas wins is set to bring in the New Year in style when Waikato FC host Auckland City in Ngaruawahia today.
The first of two ASB Premiership catch-up games faced by Auckland City after their Fifa Club World Cup Japanese foray would have appeared a mere formality at the time of their trip to Japan. Not so now.
While City were away Waikato FC sent coach Declan Edge packing and brought in Mark Cossey. In two games, both away, Cossey worked his magic banking 3-2 and 6-1 wins over YoungHeart Manawatu and Otago United respectively. Cossey will take some heart from the results and go into today's much tougher assignment with some justified confidence.
Rory Turner will be ready to lead the attack against the well-organised City defence led by stalwart and captain Ivan Vicelich.
In their only game since returning from the Club World Cup, Auckland City showed they are again contenders for the premiership crown.
Claiming three points today will be a big help as they go into the match in fourth place trailing leaders Waitakere United by eight points but with two games in hand.
The transfer window kicks in next week but City coach Ramon Tribulietx is in no apparent hurry to make changes.
He is also wary of the task his players face.
"It is probably more difficult for us mentally than physically ... but we will have to tune in very quickly as we have an intensive week ahead with two games on the road."
For Cossey the game is the chance to continue his good record and chase a first win against City since 2006.
Waikato FC v Auckland City
Centennial Park, Ngaruawahia
Referee: Mirko Benischke