Port United will make just their third appearance at Dixie Park for the season when they host Kempsey Saints.
United lacked a killer instinct in last week’s 2-1 defeat to Macleay Valley mainly due to the absence of Matt Broderick and Troy Berecry, but the attacking duo will return from suspension this weekend.
Coach Nathan Wade conceded it would be tricky to prepare for a five-round southern conference season after the CPL split into two conferences a fortnight ago due to health restrictions.
But it would also allow him the opportunity to see what depth is at the club.
“It gives us a chance to blood some new talent for next year,” he said.
“We’re not going into the games trying to lose, we’re trying to win, but it is a good chance to give one or two of the young ones a bit of a go just to get them ready for next year.”
The two teams have already met once this season with the points shared in a six-goal thriller on August 1.
“First time we played them it was 3-3, and they’ve got quite a young side who are enthusiastic and quite skilful,” Wade said.
“Hopefully it’s another high-scoring game.”
Saints have had a disrupted season which will see them play just their second match in the last four weeks.
Their local derby with Macleay Valley scheduled initially on August 16 was postponed before they sat out last week’s round with a bye.
A 1-0 win over Taree Wildcats on August 22 is their lone fixture in the last month, and coach Kevin Sinclair admitted it had been a difficult season to get any rhythm.
“It’s been a crazy year all around,” he said.
Saints are expected to be close to full-strength for the must-win clash.
“Everyone realises we’re down a little bit on quality this year, but we’re certainly not down on effort,” Sinclair said.
“I know how disappointed the boys were the last time we played Port.
“It was one of the many games we’ve led this year, and we lost that lead. They feel they have a point to prove.”
Sinclair will look to Nick Wright and Cedric Bloedorn upfront to provide the spark, while Jacob Lyttle has been solid in goals.
Meanwhile, Macleay Valley Rangers will look to make it two-straight when they take on the struggling Taree Wildcats while Port Saints have the bye.