UPDATE: Marquee recruit William Gallas will miss a second consecutive match with a calf injury when Perth Glory host Wellington Phoenix in a crunch clash at nib Stadium on Friday.
Glory have slipped out of the top six after losing their past two fixtures and have a thin squad to choose from, with injuries, suspension and transfers taking their toll.
Coach Alistair Edwards will field a makeshift back line following the departure of Steve Pantelidis, who was allowed to leave this week to join Malaysian club Selangor.
Michael Thwaite is the only first-choice defender available, with Josh Risdon (knee) and Scott Jamieson (achilles) also out injured.
Gallas arrived in Perth to much fanfare last month, but the former English Premier League star has managed little more than an hour on the pitch in two A-League appearances to date.
He made his Glory debut off the bench in round six and was forced off before half-time in his first start for the club a week later.
He has not trained with the main squad this week and young striker Jamie Maclaren said it was “massively” important Gallas returned to action soon.
“The physios are doing what they can do and hopefully he can be on the field next week,” Maclaren.
“Losing Panta was a big loss so we do need that sort of cover at the back, especially because we know what Will can do.”
Glory have also been hit hard further up the park and are likely to field one of the youngest teams in club history, with up to seven players in the starting line-up aged 22 or younger.
Marquee striker Shane Smeltz will miss up to four weeks with a torn ankle ligament and captain Jacob Burns is suspended.
Adrian Zahra and Daniel De Silva have been brought into the squad to cover the loss of Smeltz and Pantelidis from last week’s team, which was beaten 1-0 away by Brisbane Roar.
Wellington are yet to win this season under new coach Ernie Merrick and sit second-last with just four points from seven games.
Merrick promoted Reece Caira, Josh Brindell-South and Matthew Ridenton to the squad in place of Manny Muscat (suspended), Carlos Hernandez (quad) and Tyler Boyd (omitted) after last week’s home draw with Western Sydney.
Stein Huysegems will likely fill the playmaker’s role vacated by Hernandez.
“Huysegems’ possession play is first class. He’s been outstanding in the last couple of games,” Merrick said.
Glory’s De Silva and Riley Woodcock have been named alongside fellow WA product Scott Galloway (Melbourne Victory) in the 23-man Young Socceroos squad for a training camp in Canberra next week.
The camp is the start of preparations for the AFC Under-19 Championships in Myanmar next year, which double as qualifiers for the FIFA Under-20 World Cup in 2015.