New Zealand ready for heat and Saudi Arabia

New Zealand are preparing to brave the Middle East heat ahead of their OSN Cup opener against hosts Saudi Arabia on Thursday.

The four-nation tournament also features United Arab Emirates and Trinidad and Tobago, with the Kiwis the only nation of the quartet still alive for a spot at next year's World Cup in Brazil.

NZ coach Ricki Herbert will have the services of West Ham defender Winston Reid, who was released by the Premier League outfit for the tournament.

Herbert's men enter the tournament in a fine run of form, unbeaten in eight matches - winning all bar a 1-1 draw with China in November.

However, the All Whites are set to face not only a challenge in terms of opposition, but a big one in the climate when they kick off against the Saudis at the King Fahd International Stadium in Riyadh.

NZ high performance manager Fred de Jong said his side were taking special precautions due to the expected heat and humidity.

"We have taken ice vests over and obviously ice baths and the like for the recovery after the games," de Jong said.

"(All Whites manager) Brian Turner is already over there, and he said it was over 40 degrees at 3pm in the afternoon (on Monday)."

De Jong added the New Zealanders have had recent experience playing in the heat, although it did not end well for them on that occasion at the Oceania Nations Cup.

Their loss to New Caledonia in June 2012 in Honiara - the Solomon Islands capital - was a low point for Herbert and his side, as it meant they missed out on a trip to the Confederations Cup.

And de Jong warned potential banana peel matches lay ahead in Saudi Arabia, noting the hosts can defy their FIFA ranking of 107 - 50 spots lower than the Kiwis (57th).

"We're expecting them to have their full side," de Jong said.

"I think they're technically pretty good and they've had times when they've been very good, very high up the FIFA rankings.

"(Saudi Arabia are) not as strong these days but we're expecting a tough game."