Costa Rican pair Carlos Hernandez and Kenny Cunningham have been pencilled in for the Phoenix after missing the last match with international duties.
Wellington Phoenix coach Ernie Merrick is keen to have Costa Rican duo Carlos Hernandez and Kenny Cunningham back in his starting line-up for Saturday’s A-League encounter with Adelaide in Auckland.
The pair missed the 2-1 loss to Brisbane Roar at the weekend after being called up for Costa Rica’s World Cup warm-up matches against Chile and South Korea.
Hernandez has been struggling with a calf problem and played 60 minutes in the 4-0 loss to Chile but took no part in the 1-0 defeat to South Korea.
Cunningham played the full match against Chile and had 20 minutes off the bench against South Korea.
The pair arrive from Los Angeles on Tuesday afternoon and will travel to Auckland with the Phoenix on Wednesday morning, but Merrick won’t rush them back unless they are 100 per cent fit.
“We’ve got plenty of time to help them recover. The thinking is that they will go straight back into the team,” said Merrick. “But it will depend on how they are feeling and their health and wellbeing.”
The duo may be glad to have missed the heat and humidity of Brisbane last weekend as the energy-sapping conditions took their toll on the players.
“Two of the players, Manny Muscat and Ben Sigmund, lost 3.5kg which is three-and-a-half litres of water. So they were really struggling,” Merrick said.
However, he was confident there would be no lingering effects this week and the players went through a light training session on Monday watched by injured teammate Louis Fenton, who is starting the lengthy rehabilitation of his right shoulder following surgery.
“The operation went to plan. It was getting to a stage where it kept on popping out every game. I probably would rather have played on it but for medical reasons and getting it better for the future it had to be done,” the 20-year-old said of the surgery.
He will have his arm in a sling for the next four weeks but is targeting pre-season for his return.