Phoenix rush North back

Jade North is relaxed about being thrown straight back into Hyundai A-League action for Wellington Phoenix this weekend.

Jade North is relaxed about being thrown straight back into Hyundai A-League action for Wellington Phoenix this weekend.

North has been away with the Socceroos in Qatar since the beginning of the year and trained with his Phoenix team-mates for the first time in weeks on Wednesday.

But the 29-year-old defender will be rushed into the starting line-up for Saturday's crucial match against Adelaide United after Ben Sigmund received his eighth yellow card of the season in the 1-0 win over Newcastle Jets, which earned him a two-game ban.

"I only played two games while I was away and I've been training pretty hard every day so the body feels okay and I've had a run out with the team today," said North.

The Australian has kept in touch with Wellington's progress in the last month or so as they have battled their way into the top six thanks to some good home form which has produced wins against Melbourne Victory, Perth Glory and Newcastle.

"The boys have been doing well since I've been away," he said. "There were a few text messages back and forth and I've watched a few games on the internet."

The away hoodoo however, has continued to haunt the Phoenix and they will need to remedy that immediately given Saturday's match is swiftly followed by a midweek fixture in Sydney before they return home for what should be a straightforward game against North Queensland Fury in Wellington.

But talk of settling for a point against Adelaide and Sydney was quickly quashed by North.

"I'm not looking at a point I'm looking to win two games," he declared. "You've got to be positive this time of year. It's do or die for us now. I'm expecting to go and get the points."

"Knowing the Phoenix, they showed this time last year this is the time they peak."

While North's return solves the problem of Sigmund's absence, coach Ricki Herbert will also be without impressive midfielder Manny Muscat for the next two matches courtesy of his eight yellow cards.

But rather than press someone into an unfamiliar defensive midfield role, Herbert is likely to play four across the middle and go with Chris Greenacre and Dylan Macallister up front with young defender James Musa coming onto the bench.

"I think Ben has been playing extremely well and Manny has been great too but we'll cope without them," a bullish Herbert said.

The coach is also very much aware that his skipper Andrew Durante is only one yellow card away from a two-match suspension as well and hinted he could limit the centre-back's game-time to protect him.

"I'll start him against Adelaide but I wouldn't say there's any guarantee that I'll play him fully in both matches," Herbert said.

"We'll just have to wait and see. There are games tonight (Wednesday) and games at the weekend. Depending on some of those results we may be able to leave him out."