March 10, 2015 15:45:55 UK
Wellington Phoenix are considering resting New Zealand international Michael McGlinchey for Saturday’s big clash with leaders Perth Glory.
The Phoenix, who are 5.50 to win the Grand Final, will travel to nib Stadium as Glory’s nearest rivals, sitting just a point behind Kenny Lowe’s side with a better goal difference.
They have seen off two of their premiership rivals, Melbourne Victory and Adelaide United, in their last two matches and will face another of them – Sydney FC – twice in their run-in.
The meeting with Perth, though, has extra significance as it would mean they end a round on top of the table for the first time since the start of the 2012-13 season.
Wellington are 3.30 to beat the Glory, who are 2.20 with the draw 23/10.
The 2-0 victory over Adelaide left a number of players sore, with Andrew Durante, Albert Riera and Michael Boxall feeling the effects.
McGlinchey, whose signing in pre-season has made such a difference to a club who finished next to bottom last term, has a calf problem and may be left out.
Coach Ernie Merrick said: “We have to have a look at a few of them, they’re really battle-worn at the moment. And that’s a lot to do with the number of games we’ve played and the hard training.
“We’ll have a good look at Michael before I throw him in again. He’s obviously suffering and couldn’t cover the distance he wanted to cover. He’s such a good player for our team, maybe he needs freshening up, I’m not sure yet.”
Wellington went through a relative slump after the Asian Cup break, losing away to Brisbane Roar and Western Sydney then being held at home in successive games by Melbourne City and Newcastle Jets.
The return to scoring form of 12-goal striker Nathan Burns has helped them get back on track. After seven matches without a goal, the Australia international has netted in both the last two games to move within one of A-League leading scorer Marc Janko.
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