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Former skipper Steven Taylor set to start in Phoenix return

Former Wellington Phoenix captain Steven Taylor will start in his first game back for the club since his return earlier this month.

Steven Taylor. Source: Photosport

The 35-year-old left the Phoenix last September - saying he was tired of the A-League's uncertainty due to Covid-19 - joining Indian Super League side Odisha.

But his new club failed to make the playoffs and opened up a window where Taylor could return to Australia and the Phoenix, an opportunity he grabbed.

After spending two weeks in quarantine in Australia, Taylor is now available to play for the Phoenix as they head into one of the most important weeks of their season.

The Phoenix play Melbourne Victory tomorrow and Macarthur on Sunday, with coach Ufuk Talay believing his side must secure the full six points to have any hope of entering the playoff race.

Talay confirmed Taylor would take the pitch against the Victory in Wollongong tomorrow, in what he described as a "massive boost" for the club.

"Taylor is a very experienced player," Talay said.

"I think it's something that we need in our squad. He's a very influential player, a great leader at the back and a great organiser in front of him.

"I'm hoping he comes out and plays well and gives our team the massive boost that we need in our backline."

Talay saw Taylor as being better utilised in a starting role rather than off the bench, and he said the former Newcastle United defender was raring to go.

"I told him he would start and see how he goes - he came straight back to me and told me he's not coming off the park, so that's a good thing."

The Phoenix currently lie in tenth place, having won just three of their 12 games so far this season.

But two wins from their next two games will shoot them up to the top eight, just outside the playoff target.

"I think this season we've played good football without getting results unfortunately," Talay said.

"We need to maximise these next two games.

"We need to get six points if we want to get anything out of the season."