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Returning All Whites add fire to Phoenix

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Five returning All Whites will add strength and depth to the Wellington Phoenix for their second-round A-League clash away to Perth Glory on Sunday.

But there are two in particular that coach Ernie Merrick is looking forward to welcoming back after Wellington's lack of depth was exposed in their opening 1-0 loss to Melbourne City last Saturday.

Skipper Andrew Durante returns to shore up the central defence, while Kosta Barbarouses will provide extra options up front.

With Durante having played only 60 minutes against Mexico and the United States, and Barbarouses recording similar game time, Merrick is hopeful both will be fresh for the Glory game.

"Key players that we missed last week were obviously at centre of defence, so having Dura back is really important," Merrick said.

"We created numerous goal scoring opportunities and we didn't score: Kosta is available and hasn't played many minutes at all.

"They're the two key players to get back."

Michael McGlinchey, Matt Ridenton and Louis Fenton are also travelling to Perth from Washington DC, where the All Whites drew 1-1 with the United States on Wednesday.

Merrick also has the services of defender Tom Doyle, fit again after a hamstring strain, at his disposal.

McGlinchey's return will be managed carefully - if he takes the pitch against the Glory, it will be his third game in eight days after the workhorse midfielder played 90 minutes against both Mexico and the US.

Perth are coming off a 3-3 draw with Central Coast Mariners, a match they looked to have wrapped up with a 3-0 halftime lead.

Merrick acknowledges they'll be stung at losing out on a first-up win, but is confident his strengthened team will be up for the fight.

"We get our stronger backline with Dura coming into it, we get our midfield playing the ball forward more and bringing on another goal scorer, and we have more depth.

"I'm pretty happy we've got a well-rounded team - we've got a good chance of doing well against Perth."

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