When James Musa made his Wellington Phoenix debut against Melbourne Victory in November it was on the back of a sleepless night.
Tossing and turning, he worried about playing in the unfamiliar position of left back where he would face the torrid pace of Archie Thompson and Robbie Kruse.
Stopping those two is a daunting task, even for experienced defenders. For an 18-year-old in his first start it was nerve-wracking to say the least.
After a tentative start, Musa found his feet and when taking the field as a substitute against Newcastle Jets he was in a much better frame of mind.
On Wednesday night he will make his second start, against Sydney FC at the Sydney Football Stadium, and will go to bed dreaming about scoring a goal from a cross by his great mate Marco Rojas.
The two teenagers spend virtually every minute together while on the road and Musa has loved watching his great mate make such an impact.
“It has been great watching him create and score goals,” Musa said.
“I hope I-m just as successful at stopping goals.
“I know I have a job to do and I feel more comfortable in the centre of defence which is my usual position. It was tough at fullback.
“I-m looking forward to it and the perfect scenario would be to score a goal from one of Marco-s crosses.”
With the Phoenix within touching distance of the finals – needing one point from two games to seal their place – there will be no playing safe from coach Ricki Herbert.
“I-m treating it as just another game with three points attached to it – a standard league fixture,” Herbert said.
“We-ve had to make adjustments because of injuries and suspensions but we have to take a positive attitude into the game even though we need just one point.
“Professional football clubs throughout the world have to deal with things like suspensions and injury during a season and we are no different.
“Bringing two young Kiwi boys [Sean Lovemore and Aaron Clapham] into the squad is exciting for the game in New Zealand, and whether they get game time or not the experience of being in this environment will be good for them.
“I know them both well and they won-t let us down.”
Phoenix team: Danny Vukovic, Troy Hearfield, Jade North, James Musa, Tony Lochhead, Tim Brown, Nicky Ward; Marco Rojas, Chris Greenacre, Dylan Macallister, Daniel. Substitutes: Oscar Roberto Cornejo, Sean Lovemore, Aaron Clapham, Reece Crowther (GK).