Wanderers down on numbers

15 March 2019 05:09:47 EST

New signing Giancarlo Gallifuoco could make his first start for Western Sydney when they take on Wellington Phoenix at Westpac Stadium on Sunday.

The former Australia U-23 international, who signed earlier this month as an injury replacement player, made his debut as a late substitute in last week's 4-1 win over Brisbane Roar.

Wanderers are bidding for a fourth win in five games, but have three players away on international duty.

Defender Tass Mourdoukoutas, midfielder Keanu Baccus and striker Abraham Majok are with the Olyroos in Cambodia, while Mark Bridge has suffered another injury setback and Nick Fitzgerald is facing a race against time to prove his fitness.

Coach Markus Babbel said it was a "disaster" to lose three players to youth international duty.

"Keanu Baccus was in outstanding form, he was a very important player for us, this hurts us," he added.

"This is for us a disaster and a new experience for me because in Europe this is not possible in the season, the players just going away because it's not an international break."

Rashid Mahazi is likely to retain his starting place in the midfield while German midfielder Alex Baumjohann may return after he was dropped for poor performances during training.

Speaking of Baumjohann's training this week, Babbel said: "Much better, I think he understands. I had a longer talk with him and I said this is not what you also expect from yourself.

"He is too good for this. He has to work hard because now we have options for this position."

Western Sydney are 2/1 to win their next game against Wellington, who are 6/5, with the draw 11/4.

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