If there's a moving weekend in the A-League, this could be it.

As the regular season reaches its final 10 rounds, the Wellington Phoenix are part of a mid-table logjam, with four teams chasing what appears to be just two available finals spots.

Ahead of them, the top four seems to have sorted itself out and barring a catastrophe, Sydney FC, Melbourne Victory, Brisbane Roar and Melbourne City will make the playoffs. But who joins them is anyone's guess.

Consider this: The teams occupying the positions from fifth to eighth are separated by just three points. Depending on each of their results this weekend, they could all be fifth, sixth, seventh or eighth by Sunday night.


To make matters even more interesting, those four sides battle one another tonight, with the seventh-placed Phoenix hosting eighth-placed Western Sydney Wanderers in New Plymouth before sixth-placed Newcastle visit Perth, who are one point and one spot ahead.

Good luck predicting what the table will look like after these two clashes.

The gravity of the situation is certainly not lost on the Phoenix players.

"This is a big one for us. It has to be three points," said skipper Andrew Durante.

"If you get a couple of wins, you're right up there, but you lose a couple and you're scrambling again. We really need to go on a bit of a run, especially [against] the teams around us."

The Phoenix break fresh ground tonight with their first ever A-League match in New Plymouth, although they did play a preseason match against New Zealand A at Yarrow Stadium last season.

Historically, they have a good record in "home" games away from Westpac Stadium, having lost just two of 18 previous such fixtures in Auckland, Hamilton, Napier, Palmerston North, Lower Hutt, Christchurch and Dunedin.

The cooler Taranaki environment will certainly come as a relief for Wellington's players who endured energy-sapping temperatures in the high 30s last Sunday in Adelaide's Coopers Stadium.

The experience left many of the squad sluggish and heavy-legged ahead of one of the more important clashes of their season tonight.

Despite a man-of-the-match performance against Adelaide United - during which he was also physically ill at half-time - Ryan Lowry will drop out of the starting eleven to make way for the return of Italian centre-back Marco Rossi who missed the Adelaide trip through suspension.

There might also be a reshuffle in attack with Michael McGlinchey a chance to start in place of All Whites teammate Kosta Barbarouses. McGlinchey has looked sharp since his return from injury and coaches Des Buckingham and Chris Greenacre may take the opportunity to freshen up Barbarouses with a start from the bench.