Melbourne Victory still have it all to play for
Melbourne Victory coach Kevin Muscat will tell his side they're playing for starting places in the A-League finals when they play Wellington on Saturday.
Victory are one of five sides battling for second place - and the prized week off that comes with it.
On paper, they have one of the easier assignments, given Wellington's recent form and long injury list, but Muscat doesn't see it that way.
"Certainly the players have not been given the message that this is going to be a turn up and get the job done," he said.
"They've got a certain amount of pride, it's their last game at home, they don't want to end up on the bottom of the table either."
To triumph Victory needs to reverse their worst result of the season - a 5-0 belting by Ernie Merrick's men in January.
Muscat said he hoped that - and the prospect of missing out on a finals date - would spur his players on.
"I'm looking forward to an energetic performance tomorrow night," he said.
"We're guaranteed a finals game and hopefully that's in two weeks."
"The players have a platform, a football game tomorrow night, to make sure they're playing in that game when it comes around."
The final round dash for top six places has thrown up so many possibilities Muscat hasn't bothered predicting his next game.
Unfortunately for Muscat, recent results mean they rely on the Wanderers, Central Coast and Adelaide all slipping up if they are to take second place.
"There's so much uncertainty that I haven't given it any thought whatsoever," he said.
"My focus is on the performance. It's been proven when our performance are high quality the result looks after itself."
Merrick has no such diary worries, and are playing only to avoid the wooden spoon for a second straight season.
"We want to finish on a high note because our fans have just been fantastic and we need to give them something back," he said.
Victory's mid-season injury woes have been whittled down, with Socceroo Tom Rogic sidelined with a groin injury and Pablo Contreras the sole concerns.
Muscat will pair the returning Nick Ansell and Adrian Leijer in defence, with James Troisi and Gui Finkler as attacking midfielders in Rogic's absence.
The end of the season cannot come quickly enough for the Phoenix, who have been crushed by injuries and are without a win in six.
Vice-captain and centre back Ben Sigmund's quad strain is likely to rule him out, while fellow international Glen Moss should play despite groin troubles.