Uncertainty around New Zealand international Michael McGlinchey's playing future is increasingly frustrating Wellington Phoenix coach Ernie Merrick.

The 27-year-old midfielder was a late withdrawal from the Phoenix team to play English Premier League side West Ham United in Auckland on Wednesday, a game the A-League team won 2-1.

McGlinchey is at the centre of a club tug-of-war between Central Coast Mariners - his club since 2009 - and the Phoenix.

The Mariners are considering legal action to prevent McGlinchey from playing for any club without their authority until January 1, 2015, when they say his contract will expire.

Merrick says the best efforts of Phoenix general manager David Dome to secure clearance for McGlinchey to play against West Ham were to no avail.

"About two hours before kickoff, our general manager was trying to organise for him to play, but there seems to be no movement on decision-making," Merrick said on Thursday.

"I am appalled by the lack of speed in decision-making - to leave him in limbo for this long is totally out of order. I'm hugely disappointed by it."

McGlinchey, who completed a loan stint at Japanese club Vegalta Sendai earlier this year, sought advice from the players' union about his contractual status following changes to the Mariners' ownership and licence.

Through their lawyers, Professional Football Australia advised McGlinchey that, after the loan period, he became a free agent and is therefore entitled to sign with the club of his choice.

The Phoenix arrived in Wellington on Thursday to prepare for Saturday's match against Newcastle United at Westpac Stadium, while West Ham play Sydney FC in an early game at the same venue.