Ball injury a worry for red-hot Phoenix

Daniel Gilhooly
Wellington's David Ball took a tumble against Central Coast in their A-League round 13 match

Just as Gary Hooper begins to wield his A-League influence, the other half of Wellington's English strike duo has been hampered by a worrying injury.

David Ball's hip flexor problem is an issue for the Phoenix who are otherwise flying high in fourth place courtesy of their 2-1 win over Central Coast on Saturday.

The hosts' standards slipped when the 30-year-old Ball limped off the field soon after halftime.

Coach Ufuk Talay said Ball's availability for next week's home match against Western Sydney will become clear after scans.

Talay described the former Fleetwood Town forward's performance as "exceptional", having set up the opening goal for Hooper and bagging the second with a fine strike through a packed penalty box.

Captain Stephen Taylor, the third Englishman in Wellington's ranks, said the result "felt like a loss" given their patchy second-half display that opened the door for a Mariners equaliser several times.

However, Taylor said holding on for three points was an important statement for Wellington who have leapfrogged over Western United and Adelaide on the back of an eight-game unbeaten run.

Hooper was relieved to get through 62 minutes in his longest appearance for the Phoenix since becoming the club's marquee signing.

The former Celtic and Norwich striker conceded he felt fatigued, coming off two months of gradual recuperation from a quad strain.

The 31-year-old is keen to contribute more in a run of winnable fixtures over coming weeks as his fitness improves.

"Hopefully I can do more," he said.

"I was out for a long injury last year too and had to build my way back in. It's frustrating but that's football.

"I'm just glad I got through 60 minutes.

"We got the three points, even though it was quite sloppy in the second half."