Wellington Phoenix hope their COVID-enforced mini reset has left them primed to turn around their A-League Men form when they lock horns with Western United.
The Phoenix are languishing in 11th spot on the ladder with just one win and a draw to show from six games.
Wellington's form in the league before COVID-19 interrupted their season was horrible.
Phoenix lost 2-0 to Western Sydney Wanderers, 4-0 to Newcastle, 2-1 to Sydney, and 4-0 to Adelaide.
Wellington did at least enjoy the winning feeling on January 5 when they beat Melbourne City in a penalty shootout to secure a spot in the semi-finals of the FFA Cup.
But the poor run of results in the league have left Wellington five points adrift of sixth spot, meaning a win will be crucial when they take on Western United in Wollongong on Friday night.
Wellington captain Alex Rufer, who was among the 19 Phoenix players to contract COVID-19, hopes the team can turn their form around.
"It's been a good reset button," Rufer said.
"We were lucky enough to get a great result against Melbourne City, and we thoroughly deserve that little reset button and now we start fresh.
"I was one of the lucky ones (in regards to COVID) because I had relatively mild symptoms.
"The worst for me were the body aches.
"The scariest thing is when you do the test and find out you're positive, because the media around it all has been pretty scary."
The Phoenix could unveil new signings Gael Sandoval and Scott Wootton against Western.
Western had 20 players struck down by COVID-19, but all of them have since recovered.
John Aloisi's team sits third on the ladder with four wins from six games, and he said they are looking forward to their first trip of the season.
"The players are excited, because the new boys haven't been able to do their singing as they normally do when they have their first away trip," Aloisi said.
"We were unlucky that we didn't get to go away in pre-season at all.
"Normally you get to go away and there's that bonding, and players getting to know each other even more so.
"The players are really excited and looking forward to travelling together and spending a few days as a group."
Australian Associated Press