An underdone Mike McGlinchey has been left out of the Wellington Phoenix squad for their must-win trip to Sydney to play the Wanderers on Sunday.
The All Whites midfielder has battled on-going knee problems this season making just 10 appearances and a single goal to his name.
His last outing was was in the side's 3-1 loss to Sydney FC in early February, where he aggravated the injury and came off at halftime.
Despite overcoming his knee problem in time for Sunday's game against the sixth- placed Wanderers, the 30-year-old has been left at home by co-coaches Des Buckingham and Chris Greenacre.
However, McGlinchey was recently named in the New Zealand squad to take on Fiji in home-and-away World Cup qualifiers next week.
"We don't feel he's match-fit enough," Greenacre said.
"We need everybody that's fully fit raring to go, and we don't feel Mike is right at this minute."
The seventh-placed Phoenix head into the match with their playoffs hopes hanging by a thread sitting two points outside the finals.
Even a win over the Wanderers, which would push them into sixth, may not be enough with fixtures against Melbourne Victory, Sydney and Brisbane Roar looming.
Their home match against Newcastle will also be complicated by the loss of their All Whites regulars, including McGlinchey, Andrew Durante, Glen Moss, Shane Smeltz and Tom Doyle, on international duty.
Italian defender Marco Rossi has returned from injury, while Gui Finkler will have another two weeks under his belt after returning from parental leave in Brazil.