The two Whanganui football teams head into Lotto Federation battle today off the back of contrasting form.

Versatile Wanganui City take on third-placed Massey Feds at home off the back of wins in the last two weeks, while GJ Gardner Homes Wanganui Athletic dropped to fourth on the ladder after losing 2-1 to Massey Feds last weekend.

Athletic won't have it any easier today facing competition leaders, the unbeaten Watsons PN Marist Men's 1sts at Memorial Park in Palmerston North.

City coach Kelvin Francis said his lads were buoyed by the good form shown in the last fortnight and confident they could topple Massey Feds despite suffering an 8-1 hiding in round one.

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"We got that 8-1 hiding in round one, but then bounced back the following week in the Federation Cup to beat them 3-2 here at home, so we know we can take them and we're at home again," Francis said.

"We will be without Joshua Jonas who will sit out this weekend after copping his fifth yellow card last weekend and Jake Lockett will be on the bench after playing his consolation rugby semifinal for Buffalos earlier in the day, but he's been doing that all season.

"Josh Ngapeka, who wasn't available last week, returns to attacking line," Francis said.
Meanwhile, Athletic will have a real battle on its hands containing a rampant Shane Rufer-coached Marist.

For starters Athletic will be without key player Quinn Mailman after he was red carded last weekend and Jake Simcox is in serious doubt after missing training all week with illness.
Athletic did draw with Marist in round one, but then were on the receiving end of a 6-3 loss the week after to get knocked out of Chatham Cup contention.

Victory today secures Marist the championship, but Athletic coach Jason King said his lads were reluctant to gift them that honour.

"Shane Rufer is an astute coach and will also be looking ahead. They only need one win in four games to take the title and he may be content to bide his time," King said.

"With Quinn out it will impact on us bigtime, but in saying that I'm confident any players we bring in from the reserve grade will step up. Marist is in very good form and come in with great Chatham Cup form too, so we will definitely be the underdogs."