A breach of team protocol is believed to be the reason behind the omission of three Wellington Phoenix players from the squad to face the Roar in Brisbane tomorrow night.

Defenders Ryan Lowry and Tom Doyle and Dutch midfielder Roly Bonevacia, who all started last weekend's 5-1 demotion at the hands of Melbourne City, have been left behind in Wellington.

It's the last thing the Phoenix need as they battle to keep their already slim A-League playoff hopes alive.

Lowry would have made way for captain Andrew Durante who returns from suspension, but Doyle and Bonevacia would almost certainly have started the game.


Doyle is the only specialist left-back in the squad and was recently installed as a member of the Phoenix's leadership group.

Bonevacia has blown hot and cold this season, but remains one of the best midfielders in the competition on his day.

With Gui Finkler still in Brazil after his wife recently gave birth to their first child and Michael McGlinchey out with a knee injury, Bonevacia would have kept his place as the Phoenix try to bridge a five-point gap between them and the top six. His dropping will see young kiwi Matthew Ridenton given an opportunity to start in his favoured midfield position with Jacob Tratt returning from injury at right-back.

The combined absences will test the depth of the Phoenix squad with the bench likely to feature A-League rookies James McGarry, Sarpreet Singh and Dylan Fox.

Co-coaches Des Buckingham and Chris Greenacre will be privately fuming as they search desperately for a way out of a slump which has seen the side pick up just one point from their last five games.