Phoenix coach Ufuk Talay has revealed the club still holds hope of returning to Wellington, to complete their A-League season.
The Phoenix, currently 10th on 12 points, six out of the finals places, have been based in Wollongong during the campaign, to ensure the competition goes ahead amid Covid-19 travel restrictions.
On Monday, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern determined a cautious approach to reopening borders with Australia, confirming an announcement was planned for April 6.
The Phoenix have just two 'home' games scheduled after that date, both pencilled in for WIN Stadium, but Talay is optimistic they will be able to play in New Zealand.
"The club is looking at it at the moment and we're hoping it does open up," Talay said. "I think there is a window where we can get back and play a couple of games in New Zealand."
The Phoenix have won just one of their five games at their Wollongong base, against Perth Glory where they wore a Wolves-inspired red kit in appreciate of the region's support during the pandemic.
But a window of opportunity opens for them this week, taking on struggling Melbourne Victory at WIN Stadium on Wednesday night, before playing a second double-header with the Wolves on Sunday.
Wellington will tackle league newcomers Macarthur, while the Wolves meet Northbridge Bulls in the NSW National Premier League.
Talay said he was impressed by the level of support by Wolves fans and the Illawarra community.
"You look at that support that the Wolves had before our game (against Perth) and you tell this South Coast region does love football," he said. "Back in the old NSL day the team was very strong.
"At the end of the day, I can't decide on where an A-League club will come in to the competition, but I think there is a sense Wollongong would be able to host a team within the A-League.
"Everyone has to put their heads together and make it work."
Since losing 2-nil to the Victory in Melbourne in February, the Phoenix have had wins over Newcastle and Perth, lost a thriller 4-3 to Western Sydney and then left frustrated by a 1-all draw with Brisbane. Talay expects their best is yet to come in the push for finals.
"We've played some good football without getting the results," he said .
Talay confirmed defender Steven Taylor would start against the Victory, his first since returning from playing in India, but would not reveal whether he would be partnered by Liam McGing or Tim Payne.
With the weather expected to clear on Wednesday, Talay held no concerns about the Victory clash going ahead, however, said the Phoenix had restricted training space at WIN Stadium on Tuesday due to the huge amount of rain in the past week.
WELLINGTON PHOENIX v MELBOURNE VICTORY (7.05pm)
WELLINGTON PHOENIX v MACARTHUR BULLS (4.05pm)
WOLLONGONG WOLVES v NORTHBRIDGE BULLS (1pm)