By TERRY MADDAFORD
It should be a case of third time lucky for young Auckland defender Craig Wylie when the Football Kingz play Adelaide City away tonight.
Wylie has twice come close to a call-up by coach Kevin Fallon, but has spent his time on the substitutes' bench rather than the playing field.
But with Jonathan Perry missing the trip to Adelaide through injury, Fallon is set to give the former Mt Albert Grammar player his chance.
"I have no doubt he can do a job," Fallon said.
"With Jonathan Perry out, I will probably switch Gerard Davis to the right and play young Wylie on the left."
Davis and Wylie will take the wing-back roles.
Levent Osman, back from injury, Hiroshi Miyazawa and Riki Van Steeden will be used as the central defenders.
With Osman's return, Chris Jackson switches back to the midfield where he will play alongside George Goutzioulis - in his 100th NSL game - and Mark Burton.
Up front, Paul Urlovic and Andy Vlahos seem set to retain their two-man attacking responsibility.
But they go into the match with the threat of suspension hanging over them after picking up three yellow cards in 10 matches.
Harry Ngata has pulled up with a calf strain and has been replaced in the travelling squad by Zimbabwean teenager Lance Eeson.
He is likely be sitting on the bench with Campbell Banks, John Markovski and goalkeeper James Bannatyne.
"It promises to be a close game," Fallon said before yesterday's departure.
"I've got a feeling we can do it.
"But we will have to work hard. They have got some good players, including the vastly experienced Aurelio Vidmar."
After their 2-2 draw with Newcastle United last Friday night, the Kingz have trained well.
They scored a good 3-1 win over North Shore in a friendly match on Monday night.
Adelaide, beaten 4-1 away by NSL leaders Perth Glory last weekend, go into tonight's match on the same points as the Kingz.
Both have won only once in 10 outings this season.
Despite such a poor start, they are still only eight points from making the top six - and the end-of-season playoffs.
That will be enough incentive for both teams to go all out in their chase for a second victory.
Injury clouds hang over Adelaide's Ante Kovacevic and Carl Veart.
The starting lineup is not expected to be named until just before kickoff at 10 pm (NZ time).
Kingz (likely): Michael Theoklitos, Gerard Davis, Levent Osman, Riki Van Steeden, Hiroshi Miyazawa, Craig Wylie, Chris Jackson, George Goutzioulis, Mark Burton, Paul Urlovic, Andy Vlahos. Substitutes: James Bannatyne, Campbell Banks, Lance Eeson, John Markovski.
Adelaide City (from): Adrian Cagalj, Matthew Kemp, Iain Fyfe, Ante Kovacevic, Carl Veart, Nick Sabljak, Aurelio Vidmar, Scott Tunbridge, Kristian Rees, Aaron Goulding, Ivan Karlovic, Louis Brain, Lucas Pantelis, Alex Moreira, Daniel Godley.
Referee: Peter Green.
By TERRY MADDAFORD