Brian Turner has reiterated that injured New Zealand midfielder Tim Brown will be given as much time as possible to prove his fitness ahead of the start of the team's World Cup campaign.
The All Whites vice-captain suffered a fractured right shoulder in the friendly loss to Australia and returned to New Zealand as his team-mates flew to Europe to continue their preparations for the tournament which begins in South Africa on June 11. Box-to-box midfielder Brown had surgery in Auckland last week where three screws were inserted into the broken bone.
He now faces a nervous wait to see if he can recover sufficiently to join his team-mates in time for their opener against Slovakia on June 15. A decision is expected to be made on June 10. Cole Peverley is currently with the squad on standby. Brown, who plays for the Wellington Phoenix A-League club, has been a key component in getting the All Whites to their first World Cup since 1982.
"He's an integral part of the team and I think we're all in agreement that we want to give him every opportunity we can so that he can participate,'' said New Zealand assistant coach Turner.
In Brown's absence Jeremy Christie performed well in the midfield in New Zealand's shock 1-0 win against Serbia, a match that also saw Winston Reid, in his first start for the All Whites, and fellow new recruit Tommy Smith perform strongly alongside captain Ryan Nelsen in defence.
Turner felt the 3-4-3 formation which New Zealand employed against Australia and Serbia and is likely to use in another warm-up game against Slovenia on Friday, would be one that was carried into their Group F matches against Slovakia, Italy and Paraguay.
"We are pretty comfortable with the system we've got (3-4-3) and it's now more about individual people doing things and understanding their roles and responsibilities very clearly so they can perform them on the day,'' Turner told Radio Sport. "It's just getting onto the park now and working through things and putting in the hard yards at training.''