Call it desperate times. Call it a stroke of genius.
But coach Ufuk Talay's decision to revamp Wellington's defence paid dividends on Sunday, as the Phoenix played out a 2-2 draw with Western Sydney on Sunday.
With key defenders Luke DeVere and Joshua Laws sidelined due to injury, Talay brought in Liam McGing, and shifted Tim Payne into the middle of the field. Goalkeeper Oliver Sail was also brought into the starting side, replacing Stefan Marionvic at the back.
Wellington have a short turnaround for their next game, heading south to Victoria to face the Melbourne Victory on Wednesday night. It's a crunch game for both teams, who sit at the foot of the A-League ladder.
Once again, Talay believes his defense will be crucial.
"We don't have a reserve grade, so the boys don't get a regular 90 minutes when they're not playing. For Liam to get through 90 (on Sunday), and for Lois Fenton to get through 90, they did a great job," he said.
"For me, the players that came in and did what they needed to do. I also think Tim Payne did a tremendous job too as a central defender."
It's been a tough few weeks for the Wollongong-based Phoenix, who are in the middle of an injury crisis. The biggest concern is DeVere, who could miss up to three months due to a knee complaint.
Last Wednesday, Wellington bolstered their struggling attack by signing former Sydney FC striker Charles Lokoli-Ngoy. Talay says the club hasn't ruled out bringing in a replacement for DeVere.
"We'll still go down that path, we'll still have a look at it. It's very important that if we do decide to bring a player in, they've got to bring value to the team," he said.
"Liam and Tim did a great job, and we'll see how the week goes. We've got a game on Wednesday so they'll need to back up. We'll see how they're going and if they recover."
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The Phoenix will search for their second win of the season when they take on the Victory. It is an important game in the middle of a big week for Wellington, who will also take on the Jets in Newcastle on Sunday.
"I think every game is key at this stage. We always set up to go for three points and the same desire will be there on Wednesday to go there for three points. For us, we've got to look game by game and try to walk away with what we can at the end of the day," Talay said.
"Hopefully the boys get confidence from this (Wanderers) game. We've got a few injuries and players have been given opportunities. And when players get that opportunity, it's time for them to step up, and that's when footballers are born."