Wellington Phoenix play it safe with returning former skipper Steven Taylor

Wellington Phoenix will resist the temptation to rush former captain Steven Taylor back into fold for Sundays clash with Brisbane Roar despite conceding four goals in their most recent game.
Taylor was reunited with his team-mates at training on Friday after being released from managed isolation the previous day but coach Ufuk Talay said it was too early to throw him in against the Roar at McDonald Jones Stadium in Newcastle.

The former Newcastle United defender has rejoined the Phoenix, where he spent two seasons; one as captain, following a difficult six-month stint with Indian Super League club Odisha.

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Former captain Steven Taylor has rejoined the Phoenix following a brief stint in India.

Sundays game will be the first of three within a condensed eight-day window for the Phoenix, with Taylor expected to be included in the match-day squad for Wednesdays encounter against Melbourne Victory.

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Although he will have to wait for his milestone 50th A-League appearance, Talay said Taylors return has given the squad a big boost as they look to return to winning ways against the Roar.

I think we need to get some sort of load into his legs after him sitting by himself in a hotel room for two weeks, Talay said.

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It will be difficult for us to throw him in the deep end straight away and after two sessions straight into a game.

What were planning to do is at least give him five days of some load in the legs and hopefully we can have him available for the Victory game.

Talay hinted at making two changes to his starting XI following last Mondays drama-filled defeat to Western Sydney Wanderers.

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Tomer Hemed opened his A-League goal after slotting a penalty shortly after coming on against Western Sydney.

Marquee signing Tomer Hemed is poised to partner David Ball up front after scoring his first A-League goal via the penalty spot, while Louis Fenton has recovered from the injury that ruled him out in the warm-up and should start at right-back, allowing Alex Rufer to revert to his preferred position of central midfield.

Its been a miraculous recovery for Louis, which is not normal because once hes out hes out for a long time, Louis. But hes back and available for selection, Talay said.

Alex wouldve started as a six [central midfielder] in that game if Louis didnt get injured in the warm-up. At the end of the day its not fair on Alex if I shove him out because Cammy [Devlin] scored a great goal for us. Alex and Clayton have done a good job so far and I think well continue down that path.

The Roar sit four points clear of the Phoenix in seventh but have gone the past six games without a win. They have scored just two goals during that period.

Talay said Sunday's game provided an opportunity for incumbent centre-backs Tim Payne and Liam McGing to showcase what they can do before Taylor returned.

Wellington Phoenix v Brisbane Roar

McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle; Sunday, 6:05pm.


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