A-League 2020: Wellington Phoenix confident they'll retain full squad for season return

Wellington Phoenix general manager David Dome is confident the team will retain its full complement of players, when they returns to Australia to resume the A-League season.

The club was in the midst of one of its best campaigns in franchise history, when the season was brought to a halt by coronavirus back in March, and recent news of an August restart has added wind to their sails.

But with eight players set to come off contract on May 31 - including the likes of super sub Gary Hooper - there are concerns the Phoenix may be without some key cogs for their finals push.

The Phoenix are one of the clubs with the highest number of contracted players, but Dome believes the squad that eventually returns to Australia will look very similar to the one that left.

"It will be largely the same for Wellington, given the number of players we have contracted," Dome has told Newshub.

"For us, it will just be a case of extending those contracts, but we have to understand the financials around that first." 

Players can either sign a brief extension through until the end of August to play in the A-League finals series or re-commit on a more long-term basis.

"There are also some conversations [coach Ufuk Talay] needs to have with players about which ones he wants to keep for next season," Dome added.

Football Federation Australia is expected to provide further details on how all teams are able to negotiate with players with expiring contracts in the next fortnight, as well as more information on how the season restart will proceed.

The model will be similar to that used by the Warriors, where the club will head across to a base in NSW to train through a 14-day quarantine at around the start of July, ready to kick back into the season at the start of August.

But details - namely, dates - have been sparse relative to the full steam ahead approach taken with the NRL by broadcaster Fox Sports.

"The difference with us is that we'd already completed 80% of our season," Dome said.

"To be absolutely honest with you, we were waiting on what the drivers out of Australia were, especially with the broadcaster.

"They were obviously working through their own process for those codes and the A-League was looking at what the possible end of the season may look like."

Either way, the signs are encouraging for a squad that's eager to recapture the momentum they had in mid-March, when they were one of the form teams in the competition. 

"What gives me the most confidence is our players, they are chomping at the bit to get back into it.

"Steven Taylor is a magnificent leader of this team and I'm convinced he will lead the team back to Australia with all guns blazing."

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