Depth hurting Wellington

The numbers game is counting against Wellington Phoenix, according to coach Ricki Herbert and captain Andrew Durante.

The numbers game is counting against Wellington Phoenix, according to coach Ricki Herbert and captain Andrew Durante.

Herbert had picked the only 15 players at his disposal for the 2-1 home defeat against resurgent Central Coast Mariners at Westpac Stadium.

In sharp contrast to the buoyant New South Welshmen, the Kiwis have lost three on the bounce and head to Brisbane next week to face the in-form title holders.

They welcome defensive stalwart Ben Sigmund back from suspension for the trip to Queensland, but the All Whites supremo lamented his squad's lack of depth.

Vince Lia, Mirijan Pavlovic, Paul Ifill, Lucas Pantelis and Jimmy Downey are all in the Phoenix's long term injury list.

"We've got three or four, maybe more, of the potential first choice players that aren't here and we just have to deal with that," he said.

"I think Ben comes back next week so that gives me one decision to make with one player.

"But that's it. I don't think things are going to change, I've said that a number of times, I think it's status quo and we've got to battle through this year."

Durante agreed with his coach.

"The injuries, suspensions are starting to take a toll.

"You can't question the effort out there, the boys are giving everything of what we've got but it's not a big playing group at the moment.

"Ricki's got 16 players to pick from at the moment and we're probably the thinnest squad in the A League. We definitely are and it's starting to take a toll. It's difficult."