Lochhead rushed in

Tony Lochhead will be rushed straight back in to the Wellington Phoenix's starting line-up for Saturday's crucial Hyundai A-League match against Adelaide in Christchurch.

Tony Lochhead will be rushed straight back in to the Wellington Phoenix's starting line-up for Saturday's crucial Hyundai A-League match against Adelaide in Christchurch.

The left-back sat out the defeats against Perth and Melbourne as he rested a niggling groin injury and he was clearly missed in the defensive line-up which looked less balanced with Ben Sigmund at right-back and Troy Hearfield switched from the right to fill the void left by Lochhead.

The losses, coupled with the fact they conceded six goals in the process, has prompted the swift recall by coach Ricki Herbert, who only 10 days ago suggested the 28-year-old 'probably needs a month off'.

"I was going to have a little bit longer off but obviously Ricki wanted me to come on board for this game," said Lochhead. "We need to get the win."

"It's a niggly injury. If it gets worse it could need surgery but at the moment to get it better you just need rest."

"I've been struggling with it for a while. It had got to the point where it was too much to be playing and I just needed some time off to try and get it right."

"It's starting to feel a bit better so hopefully it'll be right for this weekend."

The Phoenix head into the match against a struggling and undermanned Adelaide side with a top four spot still up for grabs despite the two recent setbacks.

"I think the confidence is still there. As I said to the players we're not going to become a bad side overnight that's for sure," said Herbert.

"Destiny is well within our hands and if we can just restore what we were doing a couple of weeks ago then everything should take care of itself."

But Herbert admitted he was concerned that the goals had dried up in the past two games after a purple patch which saw them net eight goals and claim nine points in three games prior to the double-header across the Tasman

"I think that's probably the most disappointing thing," the coach said. "We had a few chances against Melbourne but nothing really clear cut."

"That front third of the pitch has to have a little bit more energy for us. Whether that's a personnel change or we just get players back doing what they were doing and doing it really well. It's a small dilemma we are in.

"People who take the pitch on Saturday night have got a massive responsibility. They will need to perform."

Added into the mix is the fact the Phoenix are playing the ‘home' match away from their Westpac Stadium fortress where their 16-game unbeaten run stretches back to October 2008.

Instead they will run out at the newly-revamped AMI Stadium in Christchurch. But early indications are they could be on track to surpass the biggest home crowd of the season - the 10,024 that turned out for the round two match against Perth Glory in August.

"It sounds like its going to be a great crowd down there so that's hopefully the confidence and support we need to get this one over the line," said Herbert.

"It gives Christchurch a real taste of A-League football and with a lot riding on it who knows Saturday night could be the night we cement a top six playoff (spot)."