YoungHeart Manawatu's pre-season fixture with the Wellington Phoenix has been confirmed in what will hopefully boost the profile of the Palmerston North franchise.
The match is on September 29.
The Phoenix are supposed to be bringing a full squad, so a few A-League stars as well as coach Ricki Herbert could be appearing at Memorial Park.
The game will help boost the profile of the Manawatu side and will be a good way to kick-start the season and forget about the troubles of last season's winless nightmare.
"It's an opportunity for our players to play against people at the level a lot of them are aspiring to get to," YoungHeart chairman Neil Perry said.
He was hoping for more than 2000 people, which would include a contingent of the Phoenix supporters club Yellow Fever who are coming up for the match.
During the Chatham Cup final last year between Wairarapa United and Napier City Rover, Memorial Park had a crowd of about 3500.
If they have a repeat of that at the park, the ground will be bursting at the seams.
YoungHeart have also confirmed New Zealand Pharmaceuticals as their naming rights sponsor.
It is a significant boost for the franchise which was struggling financially at the start of last season.
"Gives us a lot of confidence going into the season knowing we've got their backing and we've got the financial support to put in place a lot of those things that we want to do," Perry said.
YoungHeart are close to adding a couple of players to their roster.
They will have to be based in Palmerston North.
This is in line with Manawatu's philosophy of using local players.
The national league season is scheduled to kick off on November 3. YoungHeart's game against Waikato FC, a curtain-raiser to the Phoenix game on December 2, should be live on Sky TV.
- © Fairfax NZ News