International defender Kate Taylor is in line to make her much-anticipated return to the Wellington Phoenix line-up this weekend after missing five games with a foot injury.
The 2022 Phoenix women’s player of the season has been named in an extended Wellington squad for Sunday night’s 10th round Liberty A-League match against Perth Glory in Perth.
Taylor has missed the Phoenix’s past five games with a foot injury, which she suffered while away with the Football Ferns prior to the start of the new season.
“I didn’t quite know what it was but I felt it wasn’t too serious at the time, so I thought it’d be okay,” Taylor told media.
“I played those first two games, and I probably shouldn’t have, but in hindsight, it’s part of sport.”
The centre back has been side-lined for the past six weeks and has found it difficult not playing.
“I haven’t had an injury like this before and it’s been something that’s been really challenging. Not being able to train day in, and day-out…was really frustrating.
“These past few weeks I’ve been taking it easy managing my load a bit more and building up slowly. I’ve been enjoying being back running, kicking a ball and just being back with the girls and around the squad.
“I’m at a stage now where my foot is good to go.”
Main photo: Kate Taylor … ready to return. Photo: Shane Wenzlick / Phototek.
While the Phoenix are getting Taylor back at centre back, captain and goalkeeper Lily Alfeld has not been cleared to travel to Perth.
Alfeld has yet to play for the Nix this season after having a knee operation ahead of the new campaign.
Experienced midfielder Betsy Hassett also won’t make the trip. Hassett has been released to join the Football Ferns and prepare for Wednesday’s first international against the U.S.A. in Wellington.
Mackenzie Barry, Grace Wisnewski, Paige Satchell and Emma Rolston will join up with the Ferns on Tuesday upon their return from Western Australia.
Perth Glory v Wellington Phoenix
Macedonia Park, Perth (9pm, NZT)
Phoenix women’s squad
2. Saskia VOSPER, 3. Kate TAYLOR, 4. Mackenzie BARRY, 5. Marisa VAN DER MEER, 6. Isa bel GOMEZ, 7. Chloe KNOTT, 8. Grace WISNEWSKI, 9. Ava PRITCHARD, 12. Brianna EDWARDS (gk), 13. Paige SATCHELL, 14. Michaela ROBERTSON, 15. Zoe MCMEEKEN, 16. Emma ROLSTON, 17. Claudia CICCO, 18. Te Reremoana WALKER, 19. Charlotte LANCASTER, 20. Milly CLEGG, 21. Michaela FOSTER, 22. Georgia CANDY (gk).
IN: 3. Kate TAYLOR (returning from injury).
Unavailable: 1. Lily ALFELD (gk) (injured), 10. Alyssa WHINHAM (personal reasons), 11. Betsy HASSETT (international duty).
Kraev and Pennington to miss Roar game
Meanwhile, the Wellington Phoenix men will be without Bozhidar Kraev and Nicholas Pennington for Saturday’s Isuzu UTE A-League match against the Brisbane Roar in Brisbane.
Kraev and Pennington are serving one-match bans after being sent off in the second-half of last week’s dramatic win over Sydney FC.
Fullback Sam Sutton is available for selection after missing the past two matches through illness.
Brisbane Roar v Wellington Phoenix
Moreton Daily Stadium, Redcliffe, Queensland (7pm, NZT)
Phoenix men’s squad
3. Finn SURMAN, 4. Scott WOOTTON, 5. Steven UGARKOVIC, 6. Tim PAYNE, 7. Kosta BARBAROUSES, 8. Ben OLD, 9. Oskar ZAWADA, 10. David BALL, 12. Lucas MAURAGIS, 14. Alex RUFER, 17. Callan ELLIOT, 19. Sam SUTTON, 20. Oli SAIL (gk), 21. Joshua LAWS, 23. Clayton LEWIS, 24. Oskar VAN HATTUM, 31. Yan SASSE, 40. Alex PAULSEN (gk).
IN: 19. Sam SUTTON (returning from illness).
OUT: 11. Bozhidar KRAEV (suspended), 13. Nicholas PENNINGTON (suspended).
Unavailable: 11. Bozhidar KRAEV (suspended), 13. Nicholas PENNINGTON (suspended).