More international stress for Phoenix

A New Zealand international means Phoenix's All Whites contingent are facing playing three games in eight days for the second time in two months.

A friendly international between New Zealand and China in Shanghai on November 14 means Wellington Phoenix's All Whites contingent are facing the prospect of playing three games in eight days for the second time in two months.

Six All Whites, Phoenix and New Zealand coach Ricki Herbert, plus Solomon Islands striker Benjamin Totori, missed the Phoenix's draw with Melbourne Heart earlier this month because of World Cup qualifying matches.

The All Whites played back-to-back games, home and away, against Tahiti before the players returned for the 1-1 draw with Brisbane Roar last Sunday.

Those six - Mark Paston, Glen Moss, Ben Sigmund, Leo Bertos, Tony Lochhead and Jeremy Brockie - the majority of whom are regular starters for the Phoenix are all likely to be called up again by Herbert for the trip to Shanghai, which falls between a home match against Central Coast Mariners on November 11 and an away trip to Newcastle Jets on November 18.

Sigmund, who was captain in the absence of the ill Andrew Durante for the Roar game, admitted after the draw at Westpac Stadium that playing so much football in such a short period of time had taken its toll on the players.

Wellington, unbeaten so far this season, start a tricky month of Hyundai A-League action this weekend with a trip to Adelaide. Four of their next five matches are away from Wellington and their form on the road has been an Achilles heel for the team since it joined the competition in 2007.

But Phoenix general manager David Dome said the club were 'reasonably comfortable' that New Zealand Football was taking the necessary steps to mitigate the stresses on the players involved in the Shanghai friendly.

"We're not concerned. We're monitoring it, put it that way," Dome told Sportal.

"We've got our sport science people all across it and we're working with New Zealand Football to minimise the impact on the players."

Dome hasn't ruled out the possibility of handing out one-match contracts to the club's school of excellence players again either if the need arose.

They did that for the Heart game when Auckland City's Jacob Spoonley was also given a one-game deal alongside academy players Luke Rowe, Tom Biss and Scott Basalaj.

"That's something we will investigate," said Dome. "Ricki will manage that with his coaching team. If he thinks that we need cover from the football school of excellence then we'll look at that at that time."

The Phoenix general manager was also confident that this latest club versus country clash would have no impact on the attempts by Wellington to have their March 23 match against the Jets rescheduled.

World Cup qualifiers against New Caledonia in New Zealand on March 22 and the Solomon Islands in Honiara on March 26 mean the Phoenix face the same scenario then that they did against the Heart last month, which Football Federation Australia agreed was not ideal.

"To be honest it's a completely different cup of tea in terms of the timings and the players that are required," said Dome of the next month's friendly.

"The FFA are receptive to our concerns around (the March fixture). I don't have any concerns that this will have any impact on trying to reschedule that March game."