Wellington may rest players

Wellington Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert has not ruled out the possibility of resting some of his players for Sunday's showdown with Central Coast Mariners.

Wellington Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert has not ruled out the possibility of resting some of his players for Sunday's showdown with Central Coast Mariners.

Phoenix and Perth Glory are battling it out for third place behind the Mariners and Brisbane Roar and are neck and neck on 40 points with a plus three goal difference.

Glory currently sit third because they have scored more goals (36) and host Melbourne Victory in Perth on Saturday night.

It means Wellington, who have scored 33 goals so far this season, will know before kick-off at Westpac Stadium on Sunday afternoon whether they are consigned to fourth or still in the hunt for third spot - and exactly what they need to do to clinch it.

If it is the former, Herbert could be tempted to make some changes, particularly as Paul Ifill has been ill with flu all week and Vince Lia is struggling with a groin problem.

"Saturday night the Perth game will probably dictate what the outcome could be on Sunday," said the Phoenix coach.

"We've got one or two niggles. I don't really want to change it but if we have to we will.

"Vince Lia's just got a little bit of a groin problem ... but he's a chance to play.

"Paul's been in bed all week with the flu and I don't really want to risk too many leading into the big game the following Friday."

Midfielder Leo Bertos, who came off the bench last week against Victory after missing the Heart game with a badly cut knee, could replace Lia if he is ruled out. That would allow Alex Smith to be retained or Nicky Ward to be brought in to combat a pacy midfield of Mustafa Amini, Tomas Rogic, Michael McGlinchey and Oliver Bozanic.

"I think (Bertos) will probably start. He's gone great in training this week," said Herbert.

"The knee is all healed up. He's in good shape."

"Alex has done a good job for us so there are a few selection dilemmas. It's not a bad time to have them."

"But ideally I don't want to be too much different from what we've had over the past couple of weeks because it's been good."

The Mariners have won the two previous fixtures against the Phoenix this season, the most recent a one-sided 2-0 victory in Gosford when Andrew Durante and Tim Brown were missing through suspension. The other was a 2-1 win at Westpac Stadium in round five.

"They are a very good side," said Herbert.

"They are not top of the league for nothing. I've got a lot of respect for what they've done and what they continue to do."

"They've been good at putting the ball in the back of the net. They've gone through some games this year where they've probably struggled a wee bit but they've got the three points."

Graham Arnold's side also know a win on Sunday will seal the minor premiership regardless of how the Roar fair against Gold Coast United later in the day.

"They need to come here and win as well really. If Brisbane get the result on Sunday they could end up finishing second so they would be pretty desperate," added Herbert.