On the surface, it looks bad.
The Wellington Phoenix have lost seven players to international duty for tomorrow's home game against Sydney FC at Westpac Stadium.
Nathan Burns is with the Socceroos, while Louis Fenton, Michael Boxall, Tom Doyle, Michael McGlinchey, Tyler Boyd and Joel Stevens have been picked for the All Whites' clash with Korea next week.
But is it that bad? The Phoenix survived without Burns when they beat the Glory in Perth two weeks ago, while Boxall and Boyd aren't first-choice players when everyone is fit. Doyle hasn't started a game since round 12 in December and Stevens is a member of the club's reserve squad.
McGlinchey is a big loss, there's no dancing around that, and Fenton will be tough to replace, but all is not lost. Defender Manny Muscat will also return from injury this week.
These games were what the club had in mind when they pushed to get a reserve side in the ASB Premiership. They wanted to promote depth.
The Phoenix wanted players they could call upon when they needed extra troops and a young gun is likely to get a run at right back tomorrow.
Right back was the one role Phoenix coach Ernie Merrick hadn't settled on this week and he suggested it would likely come down to Matthew Ridenton, Andrew Blake and Tamupiwa Dimairo.
"Given the number of experienced players we've got in the team, I think we could cope with a youngster," Merrick said.
Wellington's backline will include the veteran savvy of Andrew Durante, Ben Sigmund and Muscat, with goalkeeper Glen Moss behind them - there are few better situations for an inexperienced player to slide in to.
The bench will look skinny but the exciting Kwabena Appiah may get a chance off the pine. Usual super-sub Joel Griffiths will likely start in place of Burns, while the versatile Roly Bonevacia will keep McGlinchey's seat warm playing behind the strikers.
"This isn't going to be a patched-up team again. This is a strong team. We've got the depth," Merrick said.
Wellington are also the league-leaders and they've completed away wins when nobody suspected they would, so why should they be doubted tomorrow?
Sydney FC, who are in third place and four points adrift of the Phoenix, will be without golden boot-leader Marc Janko given his commitments to the Austrian national team.
"They're always going to be a handful, they've lost a couple of players too," Merrick said of Sydney.
The Phoenix will be bracing for a small crowd given the clash with the Cricket World Cup final in Melbourne.