To say Glen Moss' patience has been tested this season would be an understatement.
The Wellington Phoenix goalkeeper has not played an A-League game since way back in 2011, when he tore an adductor muscle while taking a routine goal-kick for Gold Coast United.
After a painstaking rehabilitation, he's had to bide his time on the bench behind Mark Paston, while a hernia operation this season provided another setback.
But all those lonely hours in the gym will pay off tonight when the 30-year-old starts in goal against the Brisbane Roar at Suncorp Stadium.
"I've obviously been out for a while and it sucks on the sidelines, watching," Moss said.
"So I'm pretty excited and miss it to be honest. Frustrating, I mean the injuries, especially, they're things you can't really do much about when they happen. So a lot of lonely gym sessions and it gives you more time to reflect, and make the most of it when you do get back out there."
Paston didn't actually do much wrong in the 5-0 loss to Central Coast, and if it wasn't for several impressive saves, the scoreline would have been uglier. But Moss is an accomplished custodian and deserves a chance to show his wares.
What does he aim to provide the struggling Phoenix?
"Definitely a lot of energy, I know that, as I said it's been building up for 12 months so a lot of energy and enthusiasm. It's not easy for anyone, I mean the boys that aren't in the squad are obviously training as hard as they can to try and get in it. We're like a family here and the boys do back each other up. We're just trying to keep team morale high and know that if we give it our best, we'll be in with a shot."
Moss has a further two seasons to run on his contract, while All Whites team-mate Paston's expires this year.
As well as stopping shots, the pair are well used to deflecting questions about their rivalry.
"We're friends first and team-mates as well. It's a pleasure to work with Mark and we train really well together. I suppose like any job, you don't want to rock up and work with somebody that you don't like. So it's pretty easy, to be fair."
Australian under-20 striker Corey Gameiro, on loan from Fulham, will start up front, and Moss liked what he had seen at training.
"He brings a lot of speed and energy. It's probably what we're lacking a bit at the moment."
- Sunday Star Times
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