NEWCASTLE Jets will face a severely under-manned Phoenix in Wellington on Sunday as the visitors strive to breathe life into their finals hopes.
Phoenix will be without seven players including four from the side which started in the 3-1 loss to Western Sydney on Sunday.
Durante, keeper Glen Moss, prolific goal-scorer Shane Smeltz, Michael McGlinchey, Thomas Doyle and Alex Rufer have been selected in the All Whites side for World Cup qualifiers against Fiji in Lautoka on Saturday and in Wellington next Tuesday.
Phoenix striker Roy Krishna will lead the Fiji attack.
Wellington had a request to reschedule the A-League game rejected by Football Federation Australia. They had a similarly under-strength squad when they beat Central Coast 2-0 in Canberra in round six.
“We have lost seven to national-team duty but we feel we have enough left to welcome the Jets next week and give a good account of ourselves,” Phoenix co-coach DEs Buckingham said. “We will still be trying to push for sixth spot.”
Phoenix, who sit a point above the Jets in seventh place, still boast plenty of strike power in Kosta Barbarouses and Gui Finkler.
The Jets, who need a win to have a realistic hope of catching sixth-placed Wanderers, welcome back Jason Hoffman from suspension.
Phoenix beat the Jets 2-0 at home in round five before a 2-all draw in Newcastle in round 12.