YoungHeart Manawatu captain Adam Cowan wants his side to show some more ticker if it is to bounce back from last week's thrashing.
The green-and-whites are coming off a 5-0 hiding by Waitakere United last week and want to set the record straight against Team Wellington in the capital tomorrow afternoon.
Cowan was after a vast improvement from last week's poor showing, and even a near-loss or draw against last year's beaten finalists wouldn't suffice.
"No-one's ever happy with a loss," he said. "We're looking for a better performance, show a bit more balls, really. We can't just get pushed off the ball, lose the ball so easily. That's rookie stuff."
Wellington isn't going to be a cakewalk though, with about seven players from the Wellington Phoenix academy in the squad, and it is reflected again with YoungHeart $11 outsiders with the bookmakers.
But Cowan wants the players to work for each other and know what they have to do.
"Go out there and man up, be strong and get stuck in."
He said the playing group did not want any more results like the 5-0 loss.
"Everyone knows it's not acceptable. If you perform like that, whether it's against Otago or Waitakere you're going to get ravaged."
A veteran of more than 130 national league games, Cowan felt their tactics had not been right last week.
They will have to work harder with their defence, having conceded nine goals in the past two games, if they want any chance of salvaging at least a point.
Cowan said YoungHeart had a few younger players with a point to prove against some players they were competing for New Zealand under-20 spots with.
Manawatu last beat Wellington three years ago in the opening round in 2009, when Manawatu coach Stu Jacobs was coaching Wellington, and Youngheart will be looking to Vanuatu striker Seule Soromo, who scored four goals in that 4-0 win.
Wellington had their first win last week, beating Waikato FC 4-1, giving coach Matt Calcott confidence, coming off a big win.
There will also be a bit more on the game for former Manawatu captain Cory Chettleburgh, who is now playing for Wellington.
He left YoungHeart last for a stint in the Netherlands but returned to play for Wellington this season.
YoungHeart Manawatu: Matt Borren, Liam Higgins, Kade Schrijvers, Andy Frampton, Josh Chettleburgh, Nathan Cooksley, Seule Soromon, Adam Cowan, Tom Mosquera, Tyson Brandt, Jordan Martens, Dale Higham, Ben Wilkes, Sam Redwood, Grant Robson, Lewis Cumber.
Team Wellington: Scott Basalaj, Tim Schaeffers, Jamie Duncan, Andreas Damgaard, Adam McGeorge (captain), Cory Chettleburgh, Henry Fa'arodo, Karsten Viborg, Karl Whalen, Tom Doyle, Tobias Bertsch, Luke Rowe, Hamish Watson, Tom Biss, Alec Solomons, Will Jones.
- © Fairfax NZ News