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No guarantees for Phoenix trio

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 28/02/2017 Cathy Walshe

Matt Ridenton. © Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images Matt Ridenton. There are no guarantees for Wellington Phoenix's returning trio of suspended players ahead of Saturday's A-League match against Perth Glory in Auckland.

Midfielder Roly Bonevacia and defenders Tom Doyle and Ryan Lowry missed last week's away game against Brisbane Roar as punishment for breaching team protocols.

But with the Phoenix scoring an upset 2-1 win over the Roar in their absence, co-coaches Des Buckingham and Chris Greenacre face some interesting choices in their team selection this weekend.

Buckingham says the slate has been wiped clean as far as he is concerned.

"They've apologised to the playing group, so they're back in for selection the same as everybody else," he said after training on Tuesday.

But Buckingham also heaped praise on his replacement players, saying the overall team performance had been as pleasing as the result last weekend.

"The application of every single player was fantastic," he said.

"It's hugely pleasing, but it's important we back this up again this weekend against Perth."

Matt Ridenton, who slotted into the No.10 role for Bonevacia, is a chance to start at right back this week in the absence of the suspended Jacob Tratt.

Italian centreback Marco Rossi is also in doubt after straining his hamstring early in Brisbane, but youngster Dylan Fox filled in well and looks set to do so again if needed.

Adam Parkhouse impressed in filling in Doyle's position at left back, and Brazilian midfielder Gui Finkler, returning from paternity leave, offers another midfield option.

With six games of the season remaining, and with the eighth-placed Phoenix two places and two points off the cut-off for play-offs, Buckingham says he and Greenacre are taking a long-term view when it comes to team selection.

"We'll pick the best team that will get us a result, and not just this week. We want some momentum here, and if that means leaving those three players in, that's definitely a possibility.

"We now need to focus game by game. We've got six games left, and I think if we look too far ahead, there's a lot that can happen.

"But it's in our hands."

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