Wellington coach Ufuk Talay has been forced to fly two academy products to Australia as the A-League Men club deal with more COVID-19-enforced absences.
Wellington Phoenix have flown two academy players to Australia as they deal with more cases of COVID-19 ahead of Tuesday's A-League Men match against Central Coast Mariners.
Wellington Phoenix Situation
- Wellington have brought in two academy players for their upcoming A-League match.
- A COVID-19 outbreak and numerous injuries has left the team stretched thin.
- Riley Bidois and Luis Toomey have been brought in from New Zealand.
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The Phoenix suffered one of their biggest defeats in their history when they lost 6-0 to Melbourne City on Saturday but they remain well in finals contention.
Coach Ufuk Talay's side have been dealing with a mounting injury toll, worsened by fresh cases of COVID-19 within the camp.
Talay revealed on Monday that Jaushua Sotirio and Reno Piscopo were nearing returns while the club had brought academy products Riley Bidois and Luis Toomey over from New Zealand to act as cover.
"We've got four players currently out with COVID-19," Talay said.
"The main thing is that nobody else gets exposed to it because if we get another three or fourth players exposed to it we are very light on.
"There is one who previously didn't get it and there's some that have been reinfected.
"One might (play against the Mariners), it depends on Jaushua, if Jaushua is available for the game.
"If he's available for the game, we'll try to get him some minutes so we can build him back up."
Talay's side were dealing with a big list of absences when they faced City on Saturday and the Phoenix boss revealed that they only had 14 fit players at training last week.
Wellington competed well with the league leaders for the first half but eventually ran out of gas and were on the wrong end of an attacking onslaught from City.
Victory over the Mariners would put the seventh-placed Phoenix right back in the mix for a finals spot and Talay said, given the circumstances, they wouldn't dwell on the City loss.
"We had a chat with the boys when we did the review and the biggest thing that I said would hurt was their pride," he said.
"Performance-wise, I don't think we were poor. I thought the game was okay and the way that we played with the players that we had on the park.
"We learned from that, we move on. We've got an important game that we need to get a result against Central Coast Mariners."
The full A-League Men's schedule can be found using this link.