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Wellington Phoenix have a flicker of light at the end of 18-year tunnel

Tobias Macintosh

The Wellington Phoenix men's team are currently clinging on to the top spot of the Izuzu Ute A-League ladder by a mere three points. What needs to happen to get the job done?

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Phoenix are closer than they have ever been to something special SUPPLIED: Imray's Snaps

With four games to go to wrap up the regular season of the A-League, the Phoenix are closer than they have ever been to possibly lifting the premiers trophy for the first time.

The Phoenix are heading into what is arguably their most important game of the season this Saturday on 46 points, having won 13/24 games this year. Their opponents, the Central Coast Mariners, are right on their tail on 43 points in second place.

Head coach Giancarlo Italiano, who is in his first season in charge, said that they are not going to go into this game thinking that a good result will cement the season's outcome.

In an earlier press conference he said each game from now on is a final. Win and then they move on to the next one. Should they manage to do that this weekend, they will be six points clear in first place leading into the final three matchweeks.

This doesn’t come without its difficulties for the coaching staff though, with injuries and suspensions riddled throughout the squad. 

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Yellow Fever will be backing the Phoenix each step of way SUPPLIED: CATRIONA WILD

Star striker Oskar Zawada has been sidelined since November with a thigh injury which Italiano now fears is worse than initially anticipated.

Skipper Alex Rufer has been handed a one match suspension after he was handed a red card for a tackle against Brisbane Roar last Sunday. Isaac Huges is unavailable with a hamstring injury.

All Whites defender Tim Payne may make a surprise return after being ruled out during the recent international window.

Following their trip across the ditch to Central Coast this week, they return to Wellington where they will face Melbourne Victory, finishing the season against Newcastle Jets (away) and Macarthur (home).

The Phoenix will have all eyes on their next two games as six points could be enough to seal the deal and allow the Phoenix to finally dust off the trophy cabinet and open it for the first time.