Football: Wellington Phoenix goalkeeper Oli Sail ruled out for two months with hip flexor injury

A terrible Christman present for Wellington Phoenix goalkeeper Oli Sail with news he will miss up to two months of A-League action.

Sail limped off midway through the first half of the club's 2-1 loss to Sydney FC last week with a hip flexor injury and coach Ufuk Talay has revealed the recovery time for their impressive stopper is eight weeks.

Alex Paulsen will be between the sticks for the Phoenix on Monday, making his first start for the club after his 60-minute debut replacing Sail last week.

The injury to Sail couldn't have come at a worse time for the keeper or his club, with a potential international debut for the All Whites in January now off the table, while for the desperate Phoenix, they are looking to halt a slide of three-straight losses after a promising start to the 2021-22 campaign.

Talay says he trusts teenager Paulsen to do the job in goal after an error-free debut against Sydney FC and he says there is no temptation to look elsewhere for a stopper during the January transfer window.

"We've brought over Henry Gray from our academy, he's only 16, but we've relied heavily on our academy this season, he'll be the 14th player that's come into the squad from the academy," Talay says.

"AP [Paulsen] will go out there and we'll rely on him to do his job, and Henry will be sitting on the bench.''

The Phoenix play the Central Coast Mariners on Monday night in Gosford who are riding a two-match win streak that has lifted them inside the top four.

The matchday squad won't feature star import Gary Hooper who doesn't arrive back in Australia until Monday afternoon after a quick dash back to England for personal reasons.

But the team will be boosted by the return of left-back James McGarry who has recovered from a knee injury that saw him miss the last two games.

Talay says his young squad - the youngest in the league has the potential to go a long way this season, but he stresses the importance of consistency and staying focused for the full 90 minutes, or longer,

"For me, the biggest thing with this young group is consistency, which for me is the key for our season. I think we've seen it in patches, just not enough through 90 minutes. When the expectation drops a little bit, the players start to rise to the occasion, but I think they've got to do that from the first minute through to the 95th minute of the game.''

Meanwhile, Talay says new recruit, Mexican winger Gael Sandoval has impressed at training this week, but still needs a few more days to recover from a long travel schedule.

"He's looking good ... we haven't done too much with him, he's done some parts of the session, we're mindful of him travelling from Mexico, it's a long flight to Australia.

"But he's had a couple of days to recover and he's joined the group. He's looking good, the disappointing part is we can't use him till mid-January."