Wellington Phoenix have lost Gui Finkler for Saturday’s clash with Melbourne City and insist a midweek friendly is no “nuisance” to their plans for the crunch game.
Eighth-placed Phoenix’s finals hopes are on the line against City in Wellington on Saturday following four games without a win.
Finkler has been ruled out of the fixture, along with their Round 21 clash away to Brisbane Roar, having returned to Brazil following the birth of his first daughter.
Prior to Saturday, Wellington has an oddly-fixtured friendly against Beijing BG in the Huawei Capital Cup, the return fixture to a game played last July in the Chinese capital.
Wellington boss Des Buckingham insisted the fixture wasn’t a nuisance at a crucial time of the season, despite the potential for burn-out or injury.
“It was something we initially looked at at the start of the year and said that might get in the way of preparation,” Buckingham said.
“The way things have panned out over the past two or three months, this game couldn’t have fell at a better time for us.
“It gives us a chance to refresh our stocks in terms of personnel but also it gives us a chance to play with our formation.”
Buckingham confirmed injury would keep Michael McGlinchey out of the midweek game but said he should be fit for the City clash.
The Wellington boss said he’d likely use all fit players in the friendly.
“We want them to go out there and express themselves,” he said.
“There’s no pressure on the game. It’s not a league game, it’s not a must win game.”