Warners Bay coach Craig Atkins should know on Wednesday if former W-League player Tara Pender will be available for their round-14 clash with competition heavyweights Broadmeadow this weekend.
The Panthers slipped from third to fourth on 19 points after three successive losses and now face second-placed Magic (34 points) and leaders Newcastle Olympic (36) in their next two.
Warners Bay picked up Pender after five rounds but have only been able to use the 23-year-old midfielder five times due to injury and now unavailability. Pender lives in Sydney and was a last-minute withdrawal from their round-13 clash with Adamstown on June 26 due to coronavirus lockdown restrictions in NSW.
More information about whether the Greater Sydney lockdown will continue beyond Friday is expected on Wednesday.
"It doesn't get much tougher but these are the games you want to play and, if you're going to get yourself out of a bit of a form slump, you might as well play the best teams and see where you're at," Atkins said.
"We had a two-all draw with Magic last time and there's no reason we can't do that again. But it's going to be really difficult.
"We've just got to wait and see but fingers crossed we get the all clear because I know Tara is keen to get back into it."
Meanwhile, the ankle injury to Panthers player Zoe Horgan does not appear as bad as first thought and Atkins hopes to have the midfielder back in action "sooner rather than later".
"She doesn't need surgery or anything like that so she's started her rehab and said to me she's on track to return," Atkins said.
"I don't know that exact return date but from what she was saying it's definitely not season-ending, which is great. She's got a few more weeks yet to try to get it right then hopefully we can get her back on the park."
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