Try as hard as they may, Napier City Rovers players will be footing it in their Central League soccer match today but it won't be easy not to park somewhere in the back of their minds the Chatham Cup clash on Monday.
"That's part of my role to get the players focused on [today] first," says Conroy Removals-sponsored Rovers player/coach Bill Robertson, emphasising recovering after the first game will be imperative.
The Rovers play Lower Hutt City at the start of the second round in a 2pm kick off today at Park Island, Napier, before hosting Wellington Olympic in the Chatham Cup (national knockout) round two match on Monday, after thrashing the Greeks 4-1 in the league here last Sunday.
Robertson reiterated the Rovers need to manage their expectations after an exodus of last season's players and aren't going to challenge for the league crown this winter.
However, he says if they keep stringing results together anything is possible after their recent purple patch as well as advancing another round into the cup.
"They [Wellington Olympic] will look at the league title as [a bridge] too far so that gives them an extra emphasis on the cup," says Blues coach Bill Robertson of the Greeks who are defending league champions.
"We're quite convincing in what we did but we're also quite mindful of what players will come back into their mix," he says after Luis Corralles told Hawke's Bay Today last Sunday several marquee players, including himself, would be back for the cup.
It'll be interesting to see how the drainage holds out at Bluewater Stadium after persistent rain forecast this weekend.
"With poor weather forecast this weekend and two games on there in short succession we can't do anything about the pitch but just adapt to the conditions which can get a bit tricky," says Robertson.
He says teenager Jorge Akers is out of the equation after rolling his ankle while defender Danny Wilson also will be missing because he broke his nose in the league match against Olympic last Sunday.
Lower Hutt City, who they drew 3-3 away in the first round, have had a few losses but he still regards it as a tough one where picking three points at home is crucial.
Coming away with a point against Lower Hutt when the Rovers didn't have everything in place at the start if the season was in his opinion a good effort.
"We've been together a lot longer and we've got stronger as the season's got along and so would they have so it should be a good game."
Robertson says there's more consistency that has removed the sloppiness which was costing them points earlier in the league season.
English import Charlie Yexley is loving the challenge in his maiden season with the Blues.
"It's a pretty good league here," says the Romford FC player who footed it in the Ryman North League which he rates similar to the competitions here.
He started as a Millwall academy player at 8 but was released after his first year.
At 12, Westham United signed him up, after a couple of months of trials, which led to a two-year stint.
"In that time I had a lot of growth problems in my heels and my knees and only played for about eight months so it was hard for me to progress and develop," says the 20-year-old from Essex whose father Scott is a railway engineer and mother Joanne is a chiropodist.
At 15 he was left to his own vices to find a club which led to scholarships.
Yexley later on went through myriad agencies to try to secure a scholarship to the United States but his age and the burden of cost on his parents put an end to that avenue.
He eventually went through the Professional Footballers' Association, which offers life membership, mentioned Sweden but that didn't work out for the same reasons as the US.
However, it opened a door for him to New Zealand and Yexley ended up at the Blues after Team Taranaki turned him down.
He is adjusting to a passing game from a direct one in England.
"It suits me in the way we play, linking up with the attack more. It's part of my game to be going forward so I've adsjusted pretty well."
Lower Hutt, he says, came out strong with a goal in the first five minutes but the Blues came back to draw.
"We now have three wins from three we should be taking it forward to getting more wins."
Yexley says if the Blues stick to their formula on the platform of lots of confidence they should be fine.
"We've grown a lot since we played Lower Hutt we were missing a few players and now we've got a full squad and we're gelling well in training and games so we should be climbing up the ladder now," says the defender who works at Big save Furniture in Napier with four other teammates.
In the GR Engineering Women's Federation League, undefeated top-of-the-table Bluewater Hotel Taradale FC play Rothbury Insurance Brokers Porthill United in a derby at Taradale Park in a 1pm kick off tomorrow.
Porthill have only won two matches from seven.
NAPIER CITY ROVERS: Ruben Parker Hanks (GK), 2 Blake Koolen, 5 Matt Bruin, 6 Oliver Coren, 7 Jean-Michel Paulin, 8 Chris McIvor, 9 Angus Kilkolly, 10 Fahad Rwakarambwe, 12 Ethan Ladd, 14 Josh Stevenson (vc), 15 James Hoyle, 17 Fergus Neil (c), 18 Ross Willox, 20 Charlie Yexley, Kyle Baxter (RGK).
Coach: Bill Robertson.
Ast coach: Jim Neil.