Ricki Herbert is set to bring Belgian striker Stein Huysegems back into his Wellington Phoenix starting line-up for tomorrow's home game with Hyundai A-League newcomers Western Sydney Wanderers.
Huysegems missed the 3-0 win over Newcastle Jets with an ankle injury and played only the last seven minutes of the 1-1 away draw with Perth but Herbert is likely to get him back in the starting XI and give young Louis Fenton a break.
"Louis has done really well for us but I am keen to give him a rest," said Herbert. "He will be on the bench but Stein is fit and ready."
Herbert will be hoping the Belgian can continue his goal-scoring deeds.
Of the three goals he has scored, two have been at Westpac Stadium and all have been the first goal of the match and all scored before halftime. Between them, Huysegems and the re-energised Jeremy Brockie have scored eight of their team's 11 goals and will again be key tomorrow.
The Wanderers go into the match a point and a place better off than the Phoenix but without key players. They have lost impressive midfield general Aaron Mooy to the Socceroos while Youssef Hersi will serve the second match of a two-match suspension.
It is likely Shannon Cole, a one-time Waitakere United player before he turned out in 95 matches for Sydney FC, will get a start in the last of the nine matches making up the league's first round.
Herbert will have Benjamin Totori, Fenton and Tyler Boyd as his outfield players on the bench.
They will be joined by replacement goalkeeper Griffin McMaster who is to join the team today from the Victorian State League as cover for injured Glen Moss who is to have specialist treatment on a groin injury next week.
Dani Sanchez returned to the Phoenix A team midweek and will be available for selection next week which means Riccardo Clarke, signed as cover for Sanchez, will be released.
Herbert needs to sign one more player, following Mirjan Pavlovic's departure, by the middle of next month but has yet to make any decision on that.
His more immediate focus is tomorrow's game.
"We played Western Sydney pre-season so we have an idea of what to expect," said Herbert. "They will be a hard team to break down but we go into the game with some confidence after the win in Newcastle and the draw with Perth. "They were good results for us coming as they did so soon after the All Whites had played China. The chance to stay in Australia for that second game really helped as it gave the players a decent rest which would not have been the case if we had had to come home and then turn around and go all the way back to Perth."
Second-placed Central Coast Mariners are at home to leaders Adelaide United today with the Mariners chasing a top of the table position.
What: Wellington Phoenix v Western Sydney Wanderers
Where: Westpac Stadium
When: Tomorrow 4.30pm (live SS1)
Referee: Matt Gillett