A-League's Phoenix sign another key player

Oliver Caffrey
Tim Payne has re-signed with A-League club Wellington for a further two seasons

Wellington's charge up the A-League table has been boosted by re-signing international Tim Payne.

The two-year extension of the All Whites defender brings the tally of Phoenix players signed beyond the current season to 13.

Payne, striker Jaushua Sotirio, skipper Steven Taylor and vice-captain Alex Rufer have all put pen to paper this week.

It continues the good times for the sixth-placed Phoenix, who are unbeaten in seven games.

Few could have predicted the turnaround after they opened their season with four straight defeats under new coach Ufuk Talay.

The Nix will start favourites on Saturday when they host Central Coast at Sky Stadium, with a win shooting them up as high as fourth on the table.

Apart from Louis Fenton, Wellington have a fit and healthy squad to choose from.

Auckland-born Payne joined the club this season and has been influential, starting in the past eight matches.

But the 25-year-old knows the Phoenix can't afford to get complacent, with the ninth-placed Mariners only five points below.

"The way we've gone about it in the past month or so has been fantastic," Payne said.

"The league is very tight, apart from Sydney, everyone has beaten everyone so we just have to continue what we've been doing in the last six or seven weeks."

Talay said it was important to build on securing the core group of the squad.

"We want to build with these players and help them - and us - become better each year," Talay said.

"Tim and the boys are all a tight-knit group; they all work for each other, they all stand up for each other and they all share a belief in the direction we're heading."

The Mariners travel across the Tasman, just three days after losing at home to Perth on New Year's Eve.

Kye Rowles and Ruon Tongyik were both added to the extended squad to give coach Alen Stajcic some extra versatility in defence.

Central Coast midfielder Giancarlo Gallifuoco said confidence in the group remained high despite poor recent results.

"We know regardless of the scoreline that if we keep playing this way... that the results will come our way," he said.