Belgian international striker Stein Huysegems will return to the Wellington Phoenix starting XI for the crucial home Hyundai A-League game against Western Sydney Wanderers at Westpac Stadium tomorrow.
Huysegems made a brief appearance from the bench in Perth a week ago after missing the Phoenix- 3-0 win in Newcastle with an ankle injury.
“We played it safe with Stein last week because we didn-t feel he was 100 per cent right,” coach Ricki Herbert said.
“He has looked good this week in training and is raring to go.”
Teenager Louis Fenton, who has started every game after earning a contract pre-season, is the player to make way for the Belgian and he will take his place alongside Benji Totori and Tyler Bloyd on a bench loaded with pace.
“Louis has done fantastically well but he has had a lot of football, not only in the A-League but also pre-season, and I think he needs a wee break,” Herbert said.
“It will do him no harm and will freshen him for a return to the side next week.
“Something we have been missing in the past is pace on the bench that can turn a game late in the piece.
“When you look at those we now have that is no longer the case.
“It is an attacking bench and I believe that is important because the four points we picked up on our road won-t count for much if we don-t consolidate by winning at home.
“We-ve had a difficult start with four out of our last five games away from home, but now have four from five at Westpac and we have to make use of our home advantage to move up the ladder.”
Phoenix captain Andrew Durante will be especially determined to get a good result as he makes his 150th A-League appearance and 110th for the Wellington club.
The Phoenix will have Victorian State League goalkeeper Griffin McMaster on the bench as an injury replacement for Glen Moss who has a potential sports hernia he will see a specialist for this week.
McMaster joined up with the team at training yesterday and looked sharp between the posts.
Wellington Phoenix: Mark Paston, Leo Bertos, Andrew Durante (captain), Ben Sigmund, Tony Lochhead, Alex Smith, Vince Lia, Manny Muscat, Paul Ifill, Stein Huysegems, Jeremy Brockie. Substitutes: Louis Fenton, Benji Totori, Tyler Boyd, Griffin McMaster.
The game kicks off at 4.30.