YoungHeart Manawatu have been included in the Wellington Phoenix Challenge, where national league sides play friendlies against the A-League franchise this summer.
Manawatu play the Phoenix A side on Wednesday, January 9, at Memorial Park, which will be a good hitout for YoungHeart following the Christmas break before they play Otago United on January 13.
The challenge is to provide meaningful opportunities for squad members outside of the first team and talented young players crucial game time outside of the A-League.
It will be YoungHeart's second fixture against a Phoenix side this season after their pre-season match last month.
Phoenix general manager David Dome believed the reincarnation of the Phoenix A side was a win-win prospect for the club and for football in New Zealand.
He said it was good for their development to bring players back from injury, from outside the squad and use their academy players.
"We also believe it's an excellent opportunity to get the ASB Premiership players in front of our coaching staff which may lead on to future opportunities like Tyler [Boyd] and Louis [Fenton]," he said.
"And importantly we're very keen to be a visible part of the football community and continue our association with football clubs around the country."
They play all of the national league teams as well as a New Zealand under-20 selection.
The Phoenix A squad is run by Phoenix assistant coaches Chris Greenacre and Jonathan Gould.
It features some members of the top A-League squad as well as members of the Phoenix academy.
The Phoenix have their first game of the challenge against Auckland City tonight.
- © Fairfax NZ News