Wellington set to lose key players

Wellington Phoenix coach Ernie Merrick is facing a midfield selection headache for Friday's trip to Perth Glory.

Wellington Phoenix coach Ernie Merrick is facing a midfield selection headache for Friday's trip to Perth Glory.

Manny Muscat will be suspended for the match at nib Stadium after picking up his fifth yellow card in the goalless draw with Western Sydney Wanderers in Wellington on Sunday.

Adding to Merrick's woes are injuries to Carlos Hernandez and Albert Riera, who both left the field midway through the second half at Westpac Stadium.

Hernandez has a sore thigh and Riera a groin problem.

"Albert has had his for a little while. It had cleared up and now it's suddenly come back so we'll probably have an MRI done," revealed Merrick.

"Albert has been a really good signing for us. He's been performing way above what we expected. He was really going to be a back-up player but (he's played so well) it's allowed me to bolster the back line with Manny."

Merrick rested left-back Reece Caira for the Wanderers game which saw Muscat drop back to fill that role and Riera start as the defensive midfielder behind Hernandez, Jason Hicks and Vince Lia.

But Muscat's fifth yellow card means he is no longer an option to return to the midfield against the Glory - much to Merrick's frustration.

"He had a terrific game but it was total indiscipline (for that yellow card)," said Merrick.

"He's obviously used to it and got away with it (previously) but I have to say I'm very disappointed by Manny getting a yellow card and I'll be telling him that."

Merrick may have to press Michael Boxall or Joshua Brindell-South into that holding midfield role and stick with Hicks, who struggled against the Wanderers.

"I really have to see how Hernandez comes up," said Merrick when quizzed on his options.

"I didn't feel that young Jason got in the game really well (on Sunday). He was pretty well marked out the game by Iacopo La Rocca.

"But I think he's been a good player for us. There are two or three boys who could come in."

Merrick was also left frustrated by his side's inability to convert their chances in front of goal.

Hernandez, who is yet to score for the Phoenix, butchered a golden opportunity midway through the first half when he shanked his shot with the goal begging.

Ben Sigmund had an effort flash by the goal and Paul Ifill forced a save from Ante Covic and then hit the post in a frantic final few minutes.

"I'm a patient coach. I feel that we're playing good football and that we're improving in a range of areas. But to create chances inside the six-yard box like that and not put them away is disappointing for the whole team," said Merrick.

"I think they might be feeling desperate to score a goal. There's a lack of composure which isn't evident in training. They are very composed at training.

"But playing as you train is the secret to high performance and training as you play. There's no doubt we've got players who can strike the ball.

"But the bottom line is you've got to score goals to win games and at the moment we're not doing that."