Siem de Jong has been cleared to start and Daniel De Silva is close to full fitness, but Sydney FC coach Steve Corica is likely to take a conservative approach with his two star recruits on Saturday.
Corica looks set to name the same the same starting team for the sixth consecutive match when the Sky Blues tackle Wellington Phoenix at Jubilee Stadium in Kogarah.
That's despite the availability of marquee man de Jong, who has been sidelined with a hamstring issue since the Sydney derby in round two. The 29-year-old has fully recovered but given his long and unfortunate history of injuries, Corica is reluctant to risk him by throwing the Dutchman straight back into the A-League fray.
De Silva, meanwhile, was ineligible to play in last weekend's 2-1 victory over his parent club, Central Coast Mariners. He did play 61 minutes in the youth league, having returned from his own hamstring injury a month ago - but Corica said he is leaning towards sticking with a winning formula, with utility Paulo Retre's form simply too good to drop him from the midfield mix.
"I'm pleased with the way the boys are playing. We've only had one loss. Sometimes you want to keep the team the same and go from there," Corica told reporters on Thursday.
That means yet another start for skipper Alex Brosque, who was contemplating retirement in the off-season and only played on in the expectation he would have a bit-part role in the first team.
"That was the plan with Brosquey," Corica said. "But we've got Siem who can play up top and we're looking forward to bringing in a player as well in January if we can find the right player. Maybe then he'll get a break. His body's pulling up really well from games. There's no slowing him down at the moment."
The Sky Blues are expecting to face a defensively stubborn Wellington outfit. The Phoenix are playing with a back five under their new coach, former Sydney FC skipper Mark Rudan, and probably would have beaten A-League leaders Perth Glory last weekend were it not for a late and controversial VAR decision.
"That's the way he was as a player - defensively he was strong. I suppose that's what he's trying to instil in his team," Corica said. "We need to make sure we're performing well with the ball. We've got a plan to do that."
Corica hasn't heard from his old teammate Rudan, who also threw his hat into the ring for the Sydney FC job after Graham Arnold left to take charge of the Socceroos.
"We're enemies," Corica said. "When we were playing, we were good friends, but you move on. It's hard to keep in touch with everyone you play with, but I'd like to say he's (still) a friend."
The Phoenix, meanwhile, have signed retired A-League veteran Ante Covic on a short-term contract for this weekend. Covic will serve as back-up to goalkeeper Oliver Sail, with their usual first-choice custodian Filip Kurto ruled out with concussion.