Wellington Phoenix will be bolstered by the return of the four players away on international duty with New Zealand, as well as a fit again Tom Doyle, when they face Perth Glory in the Hyundai A-League on Sunday.
Last week, an inexperienced Phoenix backline put in a strong performance, but the side ultimately fell short against Melbourne City despite a strong second half and some good goal-scoring chances.
For the 'distance derby' in Perth, Wellington will be boosted by the return of skipper Andrew Durante, Kosta Barbarouses, Michael McGlinchey and Matthew Ridenton from All Whites duty. Doyle also returns after recovering from a hamstring strain suffered in pre-season.
It immediately gives the side more of a threat going forward but also a far steelier look in defence, with Durante’s partnership with Italian Marco Rossi at the back particularly strong.
"Dura has a lot of experience and as everyone knows he’s a very important player for this club and we play well together so it would be great to have him back this week," Rossi said during the week.
In attack Head Coach Ernie Merrick will welcome back Barbarouses and McGlinchey to his front third, joining Roy Krishna, Gui Finkler and Roly Bonevacia.
"We created numerous goalscoring opportunities and we didn't score: Kosta is available and hasn't played many minutes at all," Merrick said.
"We get our stronger backline with Dura coming into it, we get our midfield playing the ball forward more and bringing on another goal scorer, and we have more depth.
"I'm pretty happy we've got a well-rounded team - we've got a good chance of doing well against Perth."
Krishna may be a player to watch having scored four goals in his last three appearances in Perth, while Phoenix will look to make it three straight victories away against the Glory.
Sunday, 16 October 2016
nib Stadium, Perth
Kick-Off: 4:00PM (Local) (9:00PM NZ)
TV Broadcast: Live coverage on Sky Sport 2 from 9:00pm
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Wellington Phoenix squad: 1.Glen MOSS (gk), 2.Jacob TRATT, 4.Roly BONEVACIA, 5.Ryan LOWRY, 7.Gui FINKLER, 8.Alex RODRIGUEZ, 9.Kosta BARBAROUSES, 10.Michael MCGLINCHEY, 11.Hamish WATSON, 12.Adam PARKHOUSE, 13.Marco ROSSI, 14.Alex RUFER, 17.Vince LIA, 19.Tom DOYLE, 20.Lewis ITALIANO (gk), 21 Roy KRISHNA, 22.Andrew DURANTE (c), 23.Matthew RIDENTON
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 9.Kosta BARBAROUSES (returns from international duty), 10.Michael McGLINCHEY (returns from international duty), 19.Tom DOYLE (returns from injury), 22.Andrew DURANTE (returns from international duty), 23.Matthew RIDENTON (returns from international duty)
Outs: 6.Dylan FOX (omitted), 24.Logan ROGERSON (omitted), 26.Jack-Henry SINCLAIR (omitted)