Wellington must beat Melbourne Victory to get to the FFA Cup final with coach Ufuk Talay tempted to rely on loanee Matthew Bozinovski to shore up their defence.
Wellington coach Ufuk Talay could call upon Melbourne Victory loanee Matthew Bozinovski to step into the heart of his defence and prevent his parent club from getting to the FFA Cup final.
The Phoenix meet Victory in Geelong on Saturday in the semi-finals, a win propelling them to the club's first final where they will face the Central Coast.
With centre back Tim Payne on New Zealand national team duties and English import Scott Wootton struggling with a quad strain it opens the door for Bozinovski, 21, or 18-year-old Finn Surman, to partner Josh Laws in the Wellington defence.
"It's going to be a great occasion for them and a great opportunity for them," Talay said of his young defenders.
"If I didn't have the confidence in them then I'd be trying to makeshift and put another player in there.
"I have full confidence in my players, I have full belief in my players to go out there and do a job, regardless of their age and experience."
Talay said there was no clause in Bozinovski's loan agreement that would prevent him from playing against Victory.
Goalkeeper Oli Sail is still sidelined due to a hip complaint while Alex Paulsen, the hero of Phoenix's quarter-final penalty shootout win over Melbourne City, will continue with duties between the sticks.
Victory coach Tony Popovic has injury concerns of his own with Rai Marchan to miss out after an ugly head clash in the midweek 2-2 draw with Sydney FC in the A-League Men.
Popovic has only been at the club for a few months but already Victory have undergone a marked change from last year's wooden spoon campaign.
Victory are top of the ladder in the league and a win over Wellington would give them the chance to host the final on home soil at AAMI Park.
"When you get to this stage, you know you're two wins from lifting a trophy," he said.
"We don't want to waste this opportunity and we want to give it everything we've got to give ourselves the best chance of playing in Melbourne and give our fans something to celebrate.
"Our dream is to hold up a trophy next Saturday but to get there we've got a big job on our hands."
The full A-League Men's schedule can be found using this link.