Phoenix out to end ALM clean sheet drought

Ufuk Talay wants his free-scoring Wellington Phoenix side to sharpen their focus at the back as he seeks to turn promising A-League Men results into points.

The Phoenix welcome league leaders Melbourne City to Sky Stadium on Monday in what has been one of the league's most consistently entertaining fixtures.

Only once in their last eight meetings have the sides shared fewer than three goals, a run which includes three 3-2 barnstormers, a pair of 2-2 draws and a 6-0 win to City last season.

"It's going to be a great match-up," Talay said, who has his fleet of forwards up and running.

Polish striker Oskar Zawada, Bulgarian creator Bozhidar Kraev, English heartbeat David Ball, Kiwi veteran Kosta Barbarouses and Brazilian livewire Yan Sasse make up one of the league's best-equipped attacking units.

Eight-placed Wellington have hit the net 17 times in the ALM, making them one of just two sides that have outscored City's high-flyers, led by Jamie Maclaren, this season.

The other are second-placed Central Coast Mariners.

Talay is confident they will be able to continue their attacking output without young gun Ben Waine, who has joined English third-tier leaders Plymouth.

"Are we playing good football? I believe we are," he said.

"Are they turning to results? No, not at the moment. We've dropped too many points."

Talay's defensive woes are clear: the Phoenix have not kept a clean sheet this campaign, a run that stretches to 15 games against A-League opposition in the league and cup.

"We just need to stop conceding goals and this is the way we can win games," Talay said.

Utility Tim Payne will come back into the selection mix for the Phoenix, who drew 1-1 in Perth on Christmas Eve.

Ben Old and Finn Surman remain unavailable.

Their task on Monday is tough but not insurmountable: last time against City, the Phoenix rose from two down to earn a 2-2 draw at AAMI Park.

That is one of just two ALM matches Melbourne City have not won this season - the other being a surprise 2-1 loss to Sydney FC in early December.

Rado Vidosic's side are on a five-match winless run against the Kiwis, with Wellington having won the last four in New Zealand.

Vidosic said all his senior players were available - save for long-term absentee Florin Berenguer - to take on the Nix, praising the Wellington forward line.

"They are shining lights for them at the moment. It's going to be a tough match," he said.