Injured Wellington Phoenix defender Louis Fenton doesn't require surgery
Wellington Phoenix hope to have injured defender Louis Fenton available for selection after next weekend's bye.
Fenton has been ruled out of Sunday's clash with Melbourne Victory at AAMI Park, where the Phoenix will be looking to avoid an unwanted club record of five consecutive losses to begin an A-League season, after dislocating his left shoulder in the early stages of last week's controversial loss to Melbourne City.
Having dislocated both shoulders previously in his career, there were concerns Fenton's latest set-back could sideline the right-back for a large chunk of the A-League season.
However, coach Ufuk Talay said the injury was not as bad as initially feared and does not require surgery. Fenton trained with the Phoenix on Saturday, but only took part in non-contact running exercises.
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"He's ruled out of this weekend but it's not as bad as we thought so he'll do some on feet stuff today by himself," Talay said.
"It's good news and bad news at the same time but he'll be back a lot sooner than expected.
"We thought it could be a lot worse than what it is but after getting the scans done we're pretty pleased with the outcome where he's not going to be out for longer.
"Louis is a battler, he'll come back a lot stronger."
Tim Payne, who has also been called into the All Whites squad as an injury replacement, will make his first A-League start in Fenton's absence.
Although he has played predominantly as a centre-back or defensive midfielder throughout his career, Talay felt the 25-year-old possessed all the attributes required to put in a solid shift on the right side of the back four.
Payne played 21 minutes at right-back in the season opener against Western United, coming on to replace Fenton midway through the second half.
"This week we're looking to play Tim Payne in that role.
"I think he will give us a lot of energy going up and down because he normally plays as a midfielder, so he's got the ability to go up and down that line and hopefully give us some good delivery.
"I think it will be good for him, obviously leading into the All Whites camp as well, to get minutes on the weekend."
While the Phoenix are chasing their first point of the season, Victory head into Sunday's match also desperate for a positive result, having won just one of their first four games under new coach Marco Kurz.
They will be without key attackers Andrew Nabbout and Robbie Kruse but captain Ola Toivonen is expected to play despite picking up an injury in last weekend's loss to Western United.
Despite going winless in his first four games, Talay said he believed the Phoenix were still going in the right direction.
"It's just about getting that three points, that's the most important thing," he said.
"We've lost games by one-goal in every game that we played, the boys are still positive, they have that belief but I think this week is a game where players need to be accountable as well.
"Obviously you want to win every game you play so this game is very important. Melbourne Victory are hurting with a loss from last week against Western United as well so I think it's going to be a cracking game."
Despite losing Fenton for Sunday's match, the Phoenix will be boosted by the return of left-back Liberato Cacace. Cacace has missed the past two matches due to suspension.
A-League round 5, Wellington Phoenix v Melbourne Victory
AAMI Park, Melbourne: Sunday 6pm