GJ Gardner Homes Wanganui Athletic will look to put seven days of confidence up against 95 years of history when they rematch Palmerston North Marist in today's Chatham Cup round at Wembley Park.
Buoyed by their comeback to snatch a 3-all draw in injury time on the same ground against the same opposition last weekend in the Lotto Federation League, Wanganui would love to further erase the disappointment of losing last year's first round Cup game to the New Plymouth Rangers.
Arguably, they have already done so, as a twist of fate or rather a turn of the tumbler, had Athletic drawn out to face Rangers in the preliminary round of the Cup on Anzac Day, where a handful of unlucky teams started earlier than the rest.
Therefore, Athletic have one advantage on Marist in they have already experienced sudden-death football this year, winning 3-1 over the Taranaki side.
"Even though we've won Cup matches so far, we're still at the same level as last year," said coach Jason King.
"I think we showed enough, and after running the footage of [last week's] match, I think we can step on."
The likes of Josh Smith, Ryan Holden and Quinn Mailman stepped up last weekend in the face of adversity, but King would rather his team does not dig itself the hole before they have to climb out of it – given they had to chase the game from the 34th minute to the 95th.
An Athletic victory to advance to the second round of the Cup for the first time in many years, with the chance of a big game against possibly one of the Wellington teams, would be a career highlight for King.
But in Cup football, teams have the luxury of changing players and Marist coach Shane Rufer has a big roller-deck at his disposal.
Indeed, on Thursday night Marist fielded two squads to play one half each against the champion Fijian football club side Lautoka, who wanted a warmup match before taking on Team Wellington this weekend in the first leg of the Oceania Champions League final.
King said 45 minutes under lights at Massey University ground with a quality opponent may have been even better than a training run for the Marist team who they face today, rather than an unnecessary expending of energy.
Likewise, he cannot be sure which specific players Rufer will bring with him in Marist colours for their second meeting in seven days.
"You play the team that turns up on the day.
"Shane will do what Shane will do, it makes no difference to how we play."
One player who has strengthened PN Marist's roster but will not be expecting a warm reception at Wembley Park over the next two weeks is Jordan Joblin-Hall.
The top player for Big Orange Wanganui City, Joblin-Hall had returned to the Kelvin Francis-coached team this season after they were promoted to Federation League, following on from transferring to Marist nearly halfway through 2017 season for the chance to play Central League.
At the time, Francis was disappointed but accepting of the decision of the talented player wanting to jump up two divisions from the Horizons Premiership.
However, Joblin-Hall now leaving again to play for another club still at the same Federation League level has overshadowed City's preparations for their home Lotto Federation Cup clash with Massey, and Francis is past being diplomatic.
The defection in the wake of the shock 8-1 loss to Massey last weekend at the university grounds is a real sore point when City are already missing four front-line players with injury.
"When things get a little bit tough, you man up and stay strong – not pick up your toys and go to another sandpit," Francis said.
"He has to live with his decision."
City face Marist next weekend when Federation League resumes.
"I hope he's ready, the boys aren't happy he walked away from them," Francis warned.
"He's going to get stick from the supporters and the boys."
The roster is now very thin with Kyle Graham-Luke (achilles) still out, Marcus Jones needing a couple of weeks, James Barnes missing the rest of the month with a torn hamstring, and Alex Judd-Nutall having damaged a ligament in his knee.
Francis has gone out and recruited Tom Dixon from Wanganui Marist, while Ben Hussey, who missed a lot of 2017 with injury, has made himself available.
"That's fantastic, those two guys will be in the middle of the park tomorrow."
Given the upheaval, City had another one of their social drinks at the Sport Whanganui offices this week to talk about where they stand, while training this week has been all about trying to counter Massey's long-pass style that worked so well on their home turf last Saturday.
"Talking to Jason, he said they tried the same thing against them. Their gameplan isn't going to change," said Francis.
"We've noted that, we've also got a plan on how we're hopefully going to counter that."