Phoenix skipper Taylor laughs off fatigue

Daniel Gilhooly
Veteran English defender Steven Taylor is not concerned by the Phoenix's crammed fixture list

If a condensed A-League finish is custom-made for anybody it's evergreen Wellington Phoenix captain Steven Taylor.

The former Newcastle United stalwart has laughed off suggestions he might like a break as the Kiwi outfit plough through their match-heavy conclusion to the season.

Wellington will leapfrog Melbourne City into second place on the standings if they beat sixth-placed Adelaide United at Bankwest Stadium, their third game in seven days since the competition resumption.

The lung-busting schedule does not concern 34-year-old Taylor, who clocked up more than 200 games in the Magpies defence across 14 English seasons.

Phoenix coach Ufuk Talay has chosen to rest former Socceroo Luke DeVere who, like Taylor, has started every game this season, forming a reliable central pair.

While Taylor said rotation is a worthy tactic for all teams, particular those who are finals-bound, he wants no part of it personally.

"Absolutely. I had a chat with the manager about that. The body feels good, I've got people around me, sports science and I'm feeling great," he said.

"Two days' rest, no problem at all. We go again.

"Back in England you get these short turnarounds and you're just ready for the games ahead."

Were it not for a month-long calf muscle issue last year, Taylor would have played 90 minutes in every Phoenix league match since being lured to Wellington in 2018 by former coach Mark Rudan.

DeVere's likely replacement is All Whites international Te Atawhai Hudson-Wihongi, who provided some critical defensive plays in the 2-1 win over the fast-finishing Perth Glory on Wednesday.

Adelaide will hope to continue their positive emergence from lockdown.

Having lost four straight games before COVID-19 punctured the league, they notched a first-up success under new interim coach Carl Veart.

The 1-0 win over Brisbane came at a cost, however, with winger Nikola Mileusnic ruled out for the rest of the campaign with a foot injury.

Mileusnic was their goalscorer in the 2-1 loss to Wellington in December and, still without key midfielder James Troisi, they will turn to Riley McGree and Norwegian front man Kristian Opseth as their primary route to goal.

STATS THAT MATTER

* Carl Veart can become the first coach in Adelaide United history to win his first two games in charge.

* Wellington's 2-1 win over Adelaide in round eight snapped an 11-game winless streak against the Reds.

* Adelaide average a league-high 4.7 blocked shots per game, while Reds defender Michael Jakobsen is the leading individual with 33 total blocks.