Melbourne City will attempt an A-League balancing act on Friday night when Central Coast visit.
Warren Joyce will rest players under injury or suspension threat, but still wants to carry precious momentum into a likely elimination final with Melbourne Victory.
It's for that reason that key defender Bart Schenkeveld and captain Scott Jamieson will be thrust into battle, returning from layoffs to prove their fitness.
A possible suspension for accumulation of yellow cards means marquee Ritchie de Laet and Harrison Delbridge will watch from the bench or the stands.
A hamstring strain has ruled out Rostyn Griffiths and there are others too could be rested if Joyce thinks they will benefit from the break.
But make no mistake. Joyce wants to win and win well - even if it means dodging an elimination final on home soil with Victory.
Should City defeat Central Coast and Perth Glory also beat Wellington, with a combined goal-swing of seven, Joyce's side will jump into fifth and instead travel to Adelaide for their first-up final.
Joyce contradicted his captain Scott Jamieson, who said he wanted to face Victory, when he pondered the options for City's road to glory.
"I want to win the (Mariners) game. I'd rather win this game 8-0 to go in really buzzing (than lose and lock in a Melbourne derby final)," he siad.
"You can't be that clever or arrogant trying to pick games. We want to win this game and end in a good vein of form.
"All we can do is try and win the game and score as many goals as we possibly can and that is what we'd look to do in any home game anyway."
Of course, given City must rely on premiers Perth Glory knocking a few past Wellington, it's not entirely in City's court.
Kearyn Baccus will return to the side after a flu, while City's promising front three of Jamie Maclaren, Florin Berenguer and Shayon Harrison will get another chance to gel.
"Some of the new players like Shayon ... they've not played a lot of games. Even Macca has not played a lot of games. Players want to play football as well for the rhythm," Joyce said.
Much like neighbours Victory, which used the Asian Champions League to give opportunities to young players, Joyce wants to see fringe players put selection pressure on first-teamers.
"Players have got to play well ... if they don't play well they leave themselves open in big games the week after. Nobody's got a divine right to play," he said.
STATS THAT MATTER
* City have beaten every team in the competition this season except premiers Perth Glory and wooden spooners Central Coast.
* City are on an 11-match unbeaten streak at AAMI Park, while Central Coast haven't beaten City there for five years.
* Luckless gloveman Ben Kennedy (22 appearances) will have one final chance to earn his first clean sheet of the season.