Mark Paston appears to have won the first round of his latest fight with Glen Moss to wear the Phoenix goalkeeping gloves.
The All Whites team-mates duelled at the Wellington A-League club between 2007 and 2009 and have resumed their friendly rivalry following Moss' return from stints at Melbourne Victory and Gold Coast United.
Both men have had fitness issues during the lengthy off-season.
Paston, 35, had a minor operation to remove screws in his leg; remnants from a previous injury.
And Moss, 29, has been gradually returning to full fitness after tearing his adductor muscle last year.
The duo will both get a final audition against Manawatu in Palmerston North today but Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert said Paston had the edge to start the A-League opener against Sydney FC in Wellington next Saturday.
"That's always going to be a tough one week-in and week-out," Herbert said.
"They'll just have to play well but Mark will probably start. Glen was sort of just about there when we went in with the All Whites [earlier this month] so if I had to play him he could have played. I think he's just working hard to get back to 100, 100-plus per cent."
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