Intrigue as coach runs the buildup to playoff by himself.

Mystery surrounds the All Whites' setup this week, with two of coach Anthony Hudson's regular assistants not in Wellington for the Fifa World Cup qualifying match against Peru.
Peter Taylor and Alex Armstrong have yet to be sighted in the capital, and it's believed they won't be part of the intercontinental playoff matches.

Taylor was brought on board in September 2016, ahead of the All Whites' tour of the United States and Mexico. The 64-year offered vast experience. He has managed 11 English league clubs (including Crystal Palace, Bradford, Brighton and Hull and Leicester City), had two stints as England under-21 coach, took charge of the Three Lions for one match after Kevin Keegan's resignation and preceded Hudson as national coach for Bahrain.

"He will give me another viewpoint on things and also equally he's someone I can really trust," Hudson last year. "You don't want people the same as you, you want a different viewpoint, you need different experience and you need a different voice."


At the time of his appointment, Taylor replaced Armstrong, who had been with the team since September 2014. Aside from the North America tour, Taylor was also involved in the Fiji World Cup qualification matches last March and was also charged with monitoring the form and fitness of the Europe-based players.

Armstrong, after resigning suddenly in September 2016, returned in March and went on to assist with the team at the 2017 Confederations Cup campaign.

Hudson is being assisted in Wellington by New Zealand Under-20 coach Darren Bazeley and goalkeeping coach Paul Gothard.

"That's over to the gaffer and he picks and chooses his staff," said All Whites defender Tommy Smith yesterday, when asked about the absence of Taylor. "That's not something we concern ourselves too much with. We are just concentrating as players on being in the best shape possible for the match."

The All Whites completed another closed training session yesterday afternoon, as they continue their buildup to Saturday's big clash.

"There's no two ways about it - we've got more than enough to cause them problems," Smith said, "but we want to keep those cards close to our chest," he said.

Smith said the All Whites' chances had been boosted by having Burnley striker Chris Wood and skipper Winston Reid.

"It's great to have a full-strength squad, which we haven't had for a long time. We're quietly confident that we can go and cause an upset," he said.

Although it has been some time since he played alongside Reid, Smith says there've been no problems with the West Ham defender slotting sweetly into the back four.

"A player as good as Winston is always going to slide straight back in - we know how good he is and how strong he is for us."

- Additional reporting, NZN