The sense of the occasion is special for the Wellington Phoenix and Adelaide United camps heading into today's Hyundai A-League clash at Eden Park.
"Everyone is looking forward to playing at Eden Park," said Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert after his team's training at North Harbour Stadium on Thursday. "Of the away grounds we play at, probably only Suncorp Stadium is close to what we will experience at Eden Park."
Asked about the feeling of playing a home game away from their traditional home at Westpac Stadium, Herbert said it might be a good thing as they have lost their past two games in the Capital.
"It is still pretty much a home game for us. They [Adelaide] still have to travel and when we have taken games away from Wellington - Christchurch, Dunedin and Palmerston North - the crowds have been incredibly loyal and supportive."
While no one is prepared to make a reasoned guess on the likely size of the crowd, there were estimates as high as 20,000 yesterday based on solid pre-sales.
Somewhat ironically, Adelaide are captained by Jon McKain who played 38 times for the Phoenix between 2008-2010. He too is looking forward to playing at Eden Park and his first game against his old club.
"It's obviously a sacred ground for the All Blacks and rugby union in general in New Zealand, so I think it will be special," said McKain. "It's a beautiful stadium and hopefully we can put on a good show."
If gracing the field at Eden Park is not already enough to have McKain and the Reds keen and ready to play, there are a number of other motivating factors.
After an indifferent first month of the season they have since drawn 1-1 with Melbourne Heart and had a 2-1 win over Gold Coast United (both games at home after the painful 7-1 loss in Brisbane) which has brought a growing positivity amongst the squad.
On the down side, the South Australians will be without their marquee international and last season's golden boot Sergio van Dijk and his striking partner Andy Slory.
Head coach Rini Coolen has therefore - given other absences through injury and international commitments - been forced to bring a relatively youthful team across the Tasman.
Osama Malik, Fabian Barbiero, Antony Golec and Ricardo Da Silva have all made the trip, with Coolen having full confidence that they can step up. There will be particular interest in Da Silva - a Portuguese- born attacking midfielder signed from Adelaide City this year with Coolen hinting there was a strong possibility the 28-year-old would make his Hyundai A-League debut off the bench today.
Herbert has been mulling over his options since arriving in Auckland with all but one of his playing roster.
Only Lucas Pantelis - out for the season - did not make the trip as getting on and off an aircraft is difficult and something he would rather do without.
"We are hopeful of getting some game time out of Paul Ifill and Vince Lia," said Herbert.
"They have been back training for a while now and are obviously keen to play. We might start Vince and give him some decent minutes and maybe look to use Paul off the bench."
A starting XI could be Tony Warner, Manny Muscat, Andrew Durante, Ben Sigmund, Tony Lochhead, Leo Bertos, Tim Brown, Nicky Ward, Daniel or Vince Lia, Alex Smith and Chris Greenacre with Mark Paston, Brent Griffiths, Paul Ifill and Daniel or Lia as substitutes.
Both teams had training runs at Eden Park yesterday afternoon in preparation for the ground-breaking fixture which will play a vital role in swaying Phoenix bosses whether they should return.
Wellington Phoenix v Adelaide United
* Eden Park
* Today 5pm (live SS3)
* Referee: Peter Green.