Veteran defender Steven Taylor has returned from India to rejoin the Wellington Phoenix at their Wollongong base, in a timely boost for the battling A-League club.
Taylor had been a key leader for the Phoenix since 2018, but left to play for Oshida FC in the lucrative Indian Super League.
The 35-year-old gained an early release to come back to the Phoenix, before Sunday's double-header with the NSW National Premier League club Wollongong Wolves.
"I'm looking forward to joining back up with my teammates in Wollongong and working under Uffy [Ufuk Talay] again and doing my best for the Phoenix fans back in New Zealand and across Australia," Taylor said in the club's announcement.
Taylor boasts 11 seasons and 268 appearances for English Premier League club Newcastle United, as well as playing for Portland in the US MLS and Ipswich Town and Peterborough United in English lower leagues.
Coach Talay said Taylor's presence is a huge boost for Wellington.
"Stevie is a class act and he'll bring that leadership that we need in the backline, especially with Luke [DeVere] out with injury," Talay said.
"As a player he brings a defensive presence and as a person he brings leadership and character to the team - he was very influential in the changing room for us last season and that's what we want him to bring to the squad, in addition to his play on the field."
The Wolves take on Manly United on Sunday at WIN Stadium at 1pm, before Wellington clash with Perth at 4.05pm.