New Zealand coach Anthony Hudson has backed star striker Chris Wood to start in Thursday's World Cup intercontinental playoff second leg against Peru.

But he is more circumspect on the chances of Tommy Smith.

Wood came off the bench in Saturday's 0-0 first-leg draw in Wellington due to a hamstring issue, playing just 19 minutes.

Yet despite continuing to feel tightness in his hamstring, the Burnley attacker is more than likely to be in the XI as the All Whites chase a spot in Russia.

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Hudson admitted the 25-year-old poacher was among New Zealand's more important players, with his strength, link-up play and finishing considered crucial - particularly in a cauldron-like stadium atmosphere.

But he would nevertheless go into the second leg quietly confident.

The likes of Marco Rojas, Kosta Barbarouses and Clayton Lewis could also chip in with goals, while Shane Smeltz remained a bench option.

"We're not putting all of our faith in Chris as we have lots of other players who can score goals and have scored goals away from home against big teams, and caused problems against big teams," Hudson told reporters.

Vice-captain Wood would also add plenty of leadership and Premier League-level experience in a challenging environment.

The injury fortunes of Smith, however, seem more grim.

With his side more than likely to adopt a conservative approach in Lima, Hudson admitted the Ipswich defender remained 50-50 for the game.

He was taken off in the second half in Wellington with a calf complaint.

Hudson said the 27-year-old Smith would be rested on Wednesday before undergoing a final fitness test.

The All Whites are already without right-back Storm Roux to a minor ankle problem.

Peru veteran Jefferson Farfan touched upon the importance of Smith and the side's other rangy defenders in Los Incas' press conference.

"The fact is that this game is going to be as hard and complicated as the game was in New Zealand, because it's not easy to play against the walls that make up their defence," the Lokomotiv Moscow striker Farfan said.

-NZN