WATCH: All Whites working with club medics to manage Chris Wood’s return

All Whites skipper Chris Wood will be “eased” back into the side during the internationals against Greece and the Republic of Ireland, says head coach Darren Bazeley.

Wood (31) is recovering from a hamstring injury and has played only 15 minutes since scoring a double for his English Premier League club, Nottingham Forest, on October 22.

New Zealand play Greece behind closed doors on Saturday at 6am (NZT).

READ MORE: Greece name experienced squad for upcoming international with All Whites >>>>

Main photo: Chris Wood … “there’s an element of we need to hold him back a bit.”

Speaking to a media conference from the New Zealand training camp in Athens, Bazeley said:

“We’ve had some good communications with the medical department at Forest and we’ve got a plan to ease him back in, you know, limiting his minutes and his loadings.

“So far, he’s progressing really well.

“He’s feeling good; he’s not feeling anything from the injury, and he’s in a pretty good place.”

Asked if Wood was likely to be in the starting line-up, Bazeley said: “You know Woodsy. He’s so proud to play for New Zealand and he wants to play every minute so I think there’s probably an element of we need to hold him back a little bit.

“Like I say, we’re in communication with his club, and they’ve got some pretty good medical department people there, so you know, we won’t we won’t put him in a position where he will allow himself to push himself too far.

“We’ll have a look and see what’s the best way to utilize Woodsy is in this first game.”

Meanwhile, All Whites midfielder Sarpreet Singh told the briefing he was relieved to be regaining full fitness after his long battle to recover from serious injury.

Asked whether playing Greece behind closed doors would have an impact on the game and the team, Singh said:

“Obviously it’s always nice to play with fans. I think it provides a different atmosphere and a different feeling but, you know, for us it’s a game which is an opportunity to develop as a team and I think for us it doesn’t make a difference whether it’s with fans or without fans.

“We just know what we have to do and like (Bazeley) said, we want to try to get results now so we have to put in a good performance and and pick up a win.”

Watch the media briefing

Here’s the full 14-minute media conference:



Odysseas Vlachodimos (37 caps), Nottingham Forest, England
Alexandros Paschalakis (5 caps), Olympiacos, Greece
Sokratis Dioudis (2 caps), Zagtebie Lubin, Poland
Giorgos Athanasiadis (0 caps), AEK Athens, Greece

Giorgos Tzavellas (49 caps), Atromitos, Greece
Kostas Tsimikas (31 caps), Liverpool, England
Pantelis Chatzidiakos (29 caps), Cagliari, Italy
Dimitris Giannoulis (25 caps), Norwich City, England
Dinos Mavropanos (22 caps), West Ham United, England
Lazaros Rota (11 caps), AEK Athens, Greece
Panos Retsos (10 caps), Olympiacos, Greece
George Baldock (9 caps), Sheffield United, England
Dinos Koulierakis (5 caps), PAOK, Greece
Dimitris Goutas (3 caps), Cardiff City, Wales
Manolis Saliakas (2 caps), St Pauli, Germany
Giorgos Vagiannidis (0 caps), Panathinaikos, Greece

Tasos Bakasetas (captain) (61 caps), Trabzonspor, Turkey
Petros Mantalos (57 caps), AEK Athens, Greece
Andreas Bouchalakis (1 cap), Hertha Berlin, Germany
Dimitris Kourbelis (1 cap), Trabzonspor, Turkey
Dimitris Pelkas (3 caps), istanbul Basaksehir, Turkey
Manolis Siopis (1 cap), Cardiff City, Wales
Sotiris Alexandropoulos (8 caps), Olympiacos, Greece
Kostas Galanopoulos (6 caps), AEK Athens, Greece
Giannis Papanikolaou (4 caps), Rakow Czestochowa, Poland
Giannis Konstantelias (2 caps), PAOK, Greece

Giorgos Masouras (37 caps), Olympiacos, Greece
Vangelis Pavlidis (34 caps), AZ, Netherlands
Giorgos Giakoumakis (19 caps), Atlanta United, United States
Taxiarchis Fountas (1 cap), Trabzonspor, Turkey
Tasos Chatzigiovanis (13 caps), Ankaragücu, Turkey
Fotis loannidis (7 caps), Panathinaikos, Greece

Manager: Gus Poyet

New Zealand

Max Crocombe (2 caps) Burton Albion FC, England
Alex Paulsen (0 caps) Wellington Phoenix, New Zealand
Michael Woud (5 caps) Ventforet Kofu, Japan

Tyler Bindon (2 caps) Reading FC, England
Michael Boxall (45 caps) Minnesota United, USA
Liberato Cacace (17 caps) Empoli FC, Italy
Tim Payne (33 caps) Wellington Phoenix, New Zealand
Nando Pijnaker (14 caps) Sligo Rovers, Ireland
Tommy Smith (50 caps) MK Dons, England
Finn Surman (0 caps) Wellington Phoenix, New Zealand
Dalton Wilkins (2 caps) Kolding IF, Denmark

Joe Bell (15 caps) Viking FK, Norway
Matthew Garbett (16 caps) NAC Breda, Netherlands
Clayton Lewis (24 caps) Macarthur FC, Australia
Callum McCowatt (14 caps) Silkeborg IF, Denmark
Sarpreet Singh (10 caps) FC Hansa Rostock, Germany
Marko Stamenic (16 caps) FK Crvena zvezda / Red Star Belgrade, Serbia

Joe Champness (8 caps) Adanaspor, Turkey
Alex Greive (11 caps) St Mirren FC, Scotland
Eli Just (18 caps) AC Horsens, Denmark
Max Mata (6 caps) Shrewsbury Town, England
Ben Waine (10 caps) Plymouth Argyle, England
Chris Wood (72 caps) Nottingham Forest, England

Head coach: Darren Bazeley


Game to be played on Saturday November 18, 2023 (NZT)

Greece v New Zealand
Georgios Kamaras Stadium, Athens, Greece, 6am (NZT)

Game to be played on Wednesday November 22, 2023 (NZT)

Ireland v New Zealand
Aviva Stadium, Dublin, 8.45am (NZT)

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