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Auckland City FC could face Hawke's Bay United without in-form striker Joao Moreira this Sunday.

The 29-year-old former Portugal age group international bagged a hat-trick in a 4-2 win over the Wellington Phoenix just under a week ago but missed last night's 1-0 win over Team Wellington.

Hawke's Bay United, who sit in second place on the ASB Premiership table, will feel a sense of relief if Moreira - who has netted six goals this season - is marked absent on the weekend.

Auckland City FC coach Ramon Tribulietx says the punishing schedule will force a reshuffle of his starting line-up as he seeks to keep the team fresh after a run of four games in 12 days.

"Our only little injury concern is Joao Moreira but the rest of the squad is fine. We will have to assess the playing squad from last night to see how we have recovered from it.

"Whatever happens, we will have to make sure we use the personnel that will suit this type of game.

"We have to be very patient with our attacking mentality and hopefully with a bit of time we can create some opportunities," he said.

Last time the two teams met Hawke's Bay United sat very deep and invited Auckland City FC to have most of the possession. The Navy Blues went 1-0 ahead courtesy of Micah Lea'alafa but conceded a soft equaliser after a defensive mix-up late in the match.

Tribulietx knows Hawke's Bay United could adopt the same approach at Bluewater Stadium on Sunday but said the onus was on Auckland City FC to unlock their opponents defence.

"We all know Hawke's Bay United are a team that has been very well organized defensively and they like to drop very deep and make our life tough in terms of penetrating that block.

"We have to take our time and look to create chances," he said.

Hawke's Bay United have turned Bluewater Stadium into a fortress with the last defeat in league competition coming on 8 March 2015 when they fell 1-0 to WaiBOP United.

Since then the Bay have won two and drawn two at home and scored 12 goals and conceded seven. If you leave aside the freakish 5-5 draw with the Wellington Phoenix, there is a clear pattern the Brett Angell-coached side are a team on the up.

Auckland City FC have their own unbeaten run to preserve with the Navy Blues now 22 games without defeat in the ASB Premiership since January last year.

A win for the visitors would open up an eight point gap between themselves and the Bay and put them within touching distance of yet another ASB minor premiership title and the automatic OFC Champions League qualifying berth that comes with for 2017.

Timber by EMSIEN-3 LTD