Grace Wisnewski is a chance of making her first appearance of the 2022-23 Liberty A-League season this weekend.
The midfielder has been named in the extended Wellington Phoenix squad for this Sunday’s third round match against reigning champions Melbourne Victory at Epping Stadium in Melbourne.
Wisnewski has missed the Phoenix’s opening two matches after tearing her calf while away with the Football Ferns.
The injury also denied her the opportunity to make her senior international bow against South Korea last month.
It was initially feared the calf tear would sideline her for six to eight weeks, but head coach Natalie Lawrence says Wisnewski is built differently.
Wisnewski was an integral member of the women’s side in their inaugural season, playing the full 90 minutes in each of the 11 matches she started.
She missed three games for mental health reasons, cutting short her season in Wollongong to return to New Zealand when the borders opened.
After a mental health break Wisnewski returned to football and started all three of the Junior Football Ferns’ group matches at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica in August and scored New Zealand’s opening goal of the tournament against Mexico.
While Grace Wisnewski is a chance of returning this weekend, vice-captain Kate Taylor won’t travel to Melbourne on Saturday.
Taylor is resting an ankle injury which she also picked up while on duty with the Ferns and has hampered her in the opening two rounds.
She is the only player from last Sunday’s matchday squad to drop out of contention.
Defender Marisa van der Meer and midfielder Chloe Knott have been cleared to play against Melbourne Victory, despite leaving the field with injuries against Western United.
Club captain Lily Alfeld, midfielder Isabel Gomez and Football Ferns forward Emma Rolston remain unavailable for selection due to their respective injuries.
This Sunday’s match has been moved from City Vista Recreation Reserve in Melbourne’s west to Epping Stadium in the northern suburbs.
Wellington Phoenix squad: 2. Saskia VOSPER, 4. Mackenzie BARRY, 5. Marisa VAN DER MEER, 7. Chloe KNOTT, 8. Grace WISNEWSKI, 9. Ava PRITCHARD, 10. Alyssa WHINHAM, 11. Betsy HASSETT, 12. Brianna EDWARDS (gk), 13. Paige SATCHELL, 14. Michaela ROBERTSON, 15. Zoe MCMEEKEN, 17. Claudia CICCO, 18. Te Reremoana WALKER, 19. Charlotte LANCASTER, 20. Milly CLEGG, 21. Michaela FOSTER, 22. Georgia CANDY (gk).
IN: 8. Grace WISNEWSKI (return from injury).
OUT: 3. Kate TAYLOR (injured).
Unavailable: 1. Lily ALFELD (gk) (injured), 3. Kate TAYLOR (injured), 6. Isabel GOMEZ (injured), 16. Emma ROLSTON (injured).