It will be a two-horse race for local bragging rights in the Lotto Federation League over possibly these final two weekends of play, between GJ Gardner Homes Wanganui Athletic and Versatile Wanganui City FC.
Both the Wembley Park clubs have now had their last bye weekends of the season and are coming off recent losses, although City's 4-1 capitulation to Red Sox at home last Saturday was more galling than Athletic's narrow 1-0 away defeat to confirmed season runnersup Napier Marist a fortnight ago.
Table neighbours, City (5-4-5) sit two points behind Athletic (6-3-5), while having a differential only one goal better, as they head to Skoglund Park tomorrow to face fourth-placed North End AFC (8-3-4) in the home side's last game of the season.
Meanwhile, Athletic are home against bottom table Palmerston North Boys High (1-1-12), with those school boys being City's last League opponent next weekend, while Athletic will finish by going on the road to face another mid-table team in Massey University FC (6-1-8).
Both the Whanganui sides are banking on the three points over PNBHS, which means it will likely be the results of their away games with the Manawatu sides which decides who takes a little psychological edge into the end-of-season Charity Cup clash.
Athletic coach Jason King is glad of the motivation for his squad.
The past two seasons, he has watched his Athletic side fall back from the respectable table placings they were hunting with disappointing defeats in the final games.
"They took their eye off the prize a little bit. That extra [drive] is needed.
"At the end of the day, they've got to want to do it.
"History shows it gets a nervous game for us at the end of the season."
One player who will not lack for motivation will be long-missed striker Ryan Holden, finally all clear of the foot injury that has sidelined him since mid-June.
Holden got a few minutes for the GJ Gardner Homes Wanganui Athletic Reserves last weekend in their Horizons Premiership game and will come off the bench tomorrow.
"Quite excited that he's back. I think it was the last time we played PNBHS that he injured himself," said King.
"Last couple of games, he went with us as waterboy. He was talking us through just how his injury was treating.
"Ryan will be wanting to bang a few away."
Without a top striker, Athletic have been backing their defence in League games through the latter half of the season, and hold the second-best defensive record with only 18 goals conceded, behind champions-in-waiting Havelock North Wanderers with 12.
Their previous game with PNBHS at Memorial Park did not lack for drama, aside from the Holden injury.
Athletic were up 3-0 in just 20 minutes, before the schoolboys pulled it back to 3-2 by halftime.
The visitors scored the match-winning goal inside the last ten minutes, as Holden, Jude Hiri, Will King and James Satherley found the back of the net, with Satherley also making his return today after sitting Athletic's previous match out with injury.
After the sting of the Red Sox loss, City know they need to start putting some results together with the silverware games looming on the horizon.
"With the chance to still beat Athletic, looking at it like that, but we are looking at Gisborne [United]," said injured player-coach Anthony Bell, referring to their away Federation Cup semifinal on August 31.
"Maybe trying things [today] we wouldn't do in a League situation.
"We do want to prepare if we need to change tactics and be comfortable with that decision."
In their last game, North End have a similar motivation to the Whanganui clubs, regarding their own home patch.
They sit tied on points with Palmerston North Marist, although well behind on differential, so if they win today and Red Sox pull off another upset or a draw with Marist, North End will get the bragging rights as the top Manawatu team in the League.
"They'll be up for a massive test as well," said Bell.
"North End and us, I feel we're very similar teams.
"We have a fair relationship with them, probably the best of all the teams, because they're Zane [Robinson]'s old team."
City have some end-of-round injury concerns, specifically Alex Judd-Nuttall's prior leg injury flaring up to the point of costing him the rest of the season.
Ben Walkly's rotator cuff keeps him off the pitch and on the physio's table for this week, while with a new baby girl in the house, Bell won't be travelling today, leaving co-coach Latham Berry to run the team from on the field.
"The senior players are big enough now and know how it rolls," said Bell.
The team will welcome back Thomas Sinton, who had a one-match suspension for his red card from the narrow 1-0 loss to Wanderers on July 27.
City previously defeated North End 1-0 at Wembley Park on June 8, courtesy of a Kyle Graham-Luke goal in the 38th minute.
Both matches kickoff at 2.45pm.
In the Horizons Premiership tomorrow, Wanganui Athletic Reserves have their last home game of the season against North End Reserves in a bottom-table clash, kickoff 12.30pm.
And on Sunday, Team Ritesh Football Whanganui have their final Women's Federation League game with Feilding United AFC, kickoff 1pm at Wembley.