Imports Simon Cox and Pirmin Schwegler can expect bench roles again for Western Sydney unless coach JP de Marigny reckons they're fit to face Wellington.
Coach JP de Marigny won't rush to restore imports Simon Cox and Pirmin Schwegler to the Western Sydney starting line-up even though time is ticking on their A-League finals hopes.
Marigny hinted the 33-year-olds may be employed as bench impacts for a second game when his ninth-placed Wanderers host Wellington Phoenix at Bankwest Stadium on Friday.
Both were influential in the last half-hour of their 1-1 draw with Central Coast on Monday in what was a rusty overall return from lockdown.
Swiss midfielder Schwegler brought composure to the middle of the park while Cox finished off Mitch Duke's buildup with a headed equaliser.
It was the third goal in eight games for former Republic of Ireland striker Cox but de Marigny said both his stars would be closely monitored, with both still feeling the effects of 14 days' quarantine upon returning from Europe.
"We'll see how they've pulled up. They're both important players for us but they're in the same boat," de Marigny said.
"We've got to make sure that we manage them properly and that they're available for us in every game. We'll continue to do that. They're quality players that can affect the game."
De Marigny was particularly impressed by Cox's attacking combination with skipper Duke, which continued on from pre-lockdown.
"The synergy between the two of them is good, they've got a good relationship on and off the park.
"It's a big threat for us but in terms of physically, (Cox) needs to be in a position where we don't jeopardise him in any way."
The Wanderers can't afford to be too cautious.
A loss to the classy Phoenix would leave them four points adrift of sixth-placed Adelaide with three games remaining.
They meet a Wellington team keen to cling to second, having inched ahead of Melbourne City on goal difference after notching a loss, win and draw in rapid-fire fashion.
Phoenix coach Ufuk Talay must decide if Ulises Davila is ready to start, having introduced the Mexican playmaker in the second half of all three games.