Lochhead boost for Phoenix

Wellington Phoenix defender Tony Lochhead is poised to make his return from a groin injury against Adelaide United on Friday night.

Wellington Phoenix defender Tony Lochhead is poised to make his return from a groin injury against Adelaide United on Friday night.

The 29-year-old New Zealand left back has missed the last three games after suffering a small tear in his groin in the victory against Perth Glory in Round 10.

In his absence Brent Griffiths filled the role in the 2-0 win over Brisbane Roar and the 3-1 loss to Melbourne Victory before Vince Lia was pressed into action at right-back so Manny Muscat could switch to the left in the 5-2 victory against Newcastle Jets.

"I think Vinnie is happy to have me back. I don't think he wanted to play right-back this week," Lochhead said.

"I'm happy to come in and if they need me to play this weekend I'm ready to step in and play for sure."

Lochhead has come through two training sessions in Wellington and must complete another one in Adelaide before coach Ricki Herbert confirms his first-choice left back will start at Hindmarsh Stadium.

"He's been good. He's done a lot of work in the gym so I think he'll be reasonably fit, or as fit as he can be," Herbert said.

"Hopefully he comes through (the session in Adelaide). I'd like to give him some time anyway even if he doesn't start. But let's hope he's okay as it makes sense just to drop him straight in if we can."

Given the performance against the Jets last Friday at Westpac Stadium, Herbert is unlikely to tinker too much with his attack, particularly as Paul Ifill will not be making the trip across the Tasman.

That should see Dani Sanchez, who scored twice against the Jets, retained and Daniel possibly making way for Lia if Lochhead starts.

With three wins in four matches and the game on Friday night their fifth in 20 days, a rare win in Adelaide would top off a busy period for the Phoenix and set them up for back-to-back games at home against Sydney FC (January 4) and Perth Glory (January 8).

"That's quite a lot of games and it's quite a lot of points (on offer)," Herbert said.

"We've managed to get nine of those 12 so another three points would be pretty handy for us."

But Adelaide has not been a happy hunting ground for Wellington who have managed just one win in seven games at Hindmarsh.

However, Adelaide have struggled this season and although they earned a creditable 2-2 draw with Sydney in John Kosmina's first game in charge after he replaced Rini Coolen, they are bottom of the ladder following Gold Coast's 1-0 win over Brisbane on Monday night.

"I know John quite well. We've played and coached against each other for a long period of time," he said.

"I think he'll want to bring some different style and approach to the team. They will be tough. They'll be pretty resolute.

"They will want to win. They are at home (for the first time) with John too. I think we're probably going into a tough one."