Wairarapa United will hold their first official training run in preparation for the 2013 football season at Howard Booth Park, Carterton, tonight with the prospect of several new faces being part of their Central League squad.
Coach Phil Keinzley freely concedes plans for a Wairarapa side - named Heartland Wairarapa - being accepted into the next national summer league will play a significant role in the composition of the line-up.
The outcome of that bid will probably not be known until the end of this month at the earliest, but Keinzley believes there is no time to lose in terms of finding players capable of performing at that level.
He is therefore keen to utilise Wairarapa United's Central League side as a means of trialing players who could become key components of the national league team as well.
"I think there is every reason to be positive about our national league chances ... we have done the homework and it would be very disappointing to be turned down," Keinzley said. "Right now, the focus has to be on coming up with a side which will be competitive there, and Wairarapa United is going to be a huge help in that respect."
It is too early to say, of course, just how many "imports" will be involved in Central League action for Wairarapa United but Keinzley said well-credentialled players from South America, Europe and Africa had already expressed keen interest in joining up.
"We've probably got four or five overseas players who will definitely try out but obviously we can't promise them anything at this stage, they have to prove they have the goods first."
Of last year's Wairarapa United Central League squad, the loss of first string goalkeeper Phil Imray is already guaranteed. He is unable to meet the requirements of policy which will require players to attend two training sessions per week and while his talents will be missed Keinzley says a "very suitable" replacement was likely to confirm his availability within the next few days.
Imray has transferred back to his old club Miramar Rangers and there is a possibility that Darren Cheriton and Tim Schaeffers will go down that track as well. Also likely to join a Wellington-based club is Paul Ryder who is resident in the capital these days and doubts remain over the availability of Pita Rabo.
There are, however, a large number of the usual suspects likely to turn out again, including Adam Cowan, Dale Higham, Carl Shailer, Aaron Spierling, Seule Soromon, Waisake Sabatu and last year's skipper Nathan Cooksley.
And Keinzley is optimistic tonight's training session, which gets under way at 6pm, will see a number of the local region's most promising talent push their claims, if not for the Central League squad then for Wairarapa United's second team which will be contesting the Capital third division competition this year, after being runner-up in fourth division last year.
Keinzley said the seconds team, which will have Miroslav Tvaroh as player-coach, will also take on extra importance this season as, should Heartland Wairarapa United be accepted into the national league, they will have to be represented in a youth competition during the summer months.