After spending the past 10 days as an unused substitute for the All Whites, Ben Sigmund is itching to get on the field for the Wellington Phoenix in Sydney tonight.
Sigmund wasn't called on by Ricki Herbert during New Zealand's unsuccessful two-legged intercontinental playoff against Mexico but will slip back in to his starting centre back role for the Phoenix in the A-League soccer championship against Sydney FC at Allianz Stadium.
"My old man and me were joking on Wednesday night that I had to get the splinters out of my bum after the last two weeks," Sigmund said. "But it's so hard watching, but you've just got to try and be in the game."
The Phoenix are yet to find a win from their opening five games as they have lacked a killer instinct to put teams away when they're on top.
The rebuild under new coach Ernie Merrick is taking shape and Sigmund insisted a maiden win in the 2013/2014 season was likely soon.
"We've been building great things and the club's come such a long way in such a small space of time in the last six months," the 32-year-old said.
"But we are still building and we know we need to get results and there's no better way than to go to Sydney and pick up three points."
The last time Wellington played Sydney FC across the ditch, in January, they met an Alessandro Del Piero masterclass as the Italian forward scored four goals in a 7-1 rout.
Sigmund has clear memories of that day and will be keen to keep a lid on Sydney, who have won three and lost three this season, as he reunites with skipper Andrew Durante in the heart of defence tonight.
"It's like a marriage, me and him, at the moment," Sigmund said of Durante. "We always know what each other's doing, so I love playing with him. He's a top-quality player."
Phoenix goalkeeper Lewis Italiano has recovered from an ankle injury Leo Bertos and Kenny Cunningham come in to the squad from the side who drew 1-1 with Perth.