Stalwarts of marquee New Zealand club Napier City Rovers are not fussed about Hawke's Bay United's "ambitious" plan for the 2019-20 national summer league but what they are adamant about is ensuring they are in a position to relay the baton in case the premiership football franchise falls over.

They say their bullish members want the "prodigal son" to duly return home to its rightful home and parents.

Napier City Rovers FC is applying for credentials to become the back-up custodians in a bid to protect the Hawke's Bay province's rights to retain its presence in the national summer league.

"The reason we're doing that is because there are aspiring Auckland and Wellington clubs [one each] who have applied for B licences so we've done the same," says club finance manager and board member Graeme Sole.

"That means if Hawke's Bay United, for any reason — be it their reasons or New Zealand Football's ones — can't make the national league it won't be lost from Hawke's Bay