Wellington Phoenix lose key defender Steven Taylor to injury as they look to make playoff push

The Wellington Phoenix will be without star defender Steven Taylor for at least its next two games, as the team looks to make a push for the playoffs.

Steven Taylor. Source: 1 NEWS

Coach Ufuk Talay confirmed this morning Taylor had suffered a grade one quad strain in the last game against Macarthur, and would likely be ruled out for two weeks.

"He’s tracking well, we might bring him back a little bit earlier, but at the same time we need to be cautious as well that we don’t bring him back too early."

Taylor joins fellow defenders Luke DeVere and Liam McGing on the sidelines, meaning either Joshua Laws or Te Atawhai Hudson-Wihongi will start alongside Tim Payne when the Phoenix host Melbourne City in Wollongong tomorrow.

Injuries have forced Talay to reshuffle his back four more often than not this season, which he described as his side's biggest challenge.

"The hardest thing we’ve had this season is not have consistency in our backline with players coming in and out," Talay said.

"I’m a big believer in consistency and you notice when we did have the same backline for two, three weeks in a row we got some good results.

Melbourne City will be a tough challenge for the Phoenix, having won four of its last five games in the A-League and sitting in fourth place on the table.

"I think they’re the in-form team in the competition," Talay said.

"They’re a fluid team, they play some really good attacking football and they have some really good players that can hurt you. So I think it’s a great opportunity for our players to step up and show what they can do.

"I still believe we’re a great footballing team. I still believe we’ve played some really good football this season, at times. But the inconsistency of players being in and out has hurt us this season."

The Phoenix currently lie in tenth on the table, but with 34 points still up for grabs, Talay said his team could get right back in the playoff hunt if it goes on a winning run for three or four games.