Phoenix back training as a squad after 17 players got Covid

The Wellington Phoenix are back to full squad training after a rollercoaster few weeks caused by widespread Covid-19 infections in the squad.

The Phoenix had two matches postponed earlier this month after they revealed further members of their squad had tested positive for the virus after it was initially detected late last month.

Coach Ufuk Talay said on Monday a total of 17 players as well as a couple of staff members on top of that tested positive for Covid, making training in recent weeks a quiet affair.

"Today was the first day we've got everyone back out training," Talay said on Monday.

"We've had dribs and drabs of players coming out of isolation into training and we've had to modify what they were doing in the sessions."

In fact, Talay has had to dust off his own boots in order to pull off drills, with as little as five players being available some days.

"I think that's why I'm very sore today because I've joined in the whole last week of training to make up numbers," he said.

"But we had to keep those boys ticking over."

Phoenix players pictured on 14 December, 2021.

The postponed matches are set to be made up later in the season, but the only fixture Talay is focused on is this Friday's return against Western United.

He added their FFA Cup semi-final against the Melbourne Victory was scheduled for "next weekend" but things could change "very quickly".

In the meantime, he has four days to get his side back up to speed.

"We're trying to slowly build them up but we're not wrapping them in cotton wool at the same time because we need to expose them to a certain level of intensity because they need to play a 90 minute game on Friday.

"But at the same time, we're still mindful of what they've come out of."

Talay added players had only experienced "mild" symptoms while infected and there was no serious concerns with anyone's returns.