Dura: Win all the motivation we need

WELLINGTON Phoenix captain Andrew Durante says his team already has plenty of motivation to try and get one over on Sydney FC on Wednesday night without recalling the controversy of the two teams’ previous encounter at the Sydney Football Stadium.

WELLINGTON Phoenix captain Andrew Durante says his team already has plenty of motivation to try and get one over on Sydney FC on Wednesday night without recalling the controversy of the two teams- previous encounter at the Sydney Football Stadium.

The Phoenix were beaten 4-2 by the Sky Blues in last season-s preliminary final at the SFS – the controversy coming when striker Chris Payne put his side ahead on the stroke of halftime by blatantly punching the ball into the visitors- goal.

Durante, who scored his first and to date only goal in the Hyundai A-League in that match, says the Phoenix don-t need to draw on the bitterness of that result to inspire them in Wednesday-s big clash.

The Phoenix have already beaten Sydney 2-1 in Wellington this season but the hosts will prove a much tougher proposition on their own turf. Wellington have, by their own high standards, not played to their full ability so far this season but there have been extremely promising signs in the past two matches in particular – a 2-0 win against Melbourne Heart and a thrilling 2-2 draw with Melbourne Victory.

That desire to continue their good run is all the incentive the Phoenix need.

“I don-t think we need any more motivation than what-s already at stake,” said Durante.

“We-ve got a big three there for us on Wednesday night and it-s going to be a tough match. They (Sydney) are also going to be desperate for the three points. But we seem to be getting out of that little rut in form we-ve been in over the past month. Hopefully we can get the win but it-s definitely going to be tough.

“There are a few teams locked in pretty tight in the middle of the table and we know that a decent run of results can get us right back in the mix. That-s what our focus has been on – being consistent.”

Phoenix head coach Ricki Herbert has also strived for consistency in his selections in recent times, although he will be missing regular starter Leo Bertos (groin) in Sydney. Gutsy defender Ben Sigmund returns from suspension to bolster the Phoenix defence, while young midfielder Marco Rojas could get more game-time following his impressive cameo off the bench against the Victory. Debutant James Musa, who performed admirably in difficult circumstances against the Victory, has also made the trip across the Tasman.

While the Phoenix – led by Paul Ifill – appear to have rediscovered their mojo on attack, Durante believes the Phoenix are also starting to click defensively.

“With Manny Muscat, Vinnie Lia and Tim Brown in the midfield it makes us a little more solid and makes the defensive job easier. I think the more we play with that system the better we-ll get.”

And the Phoenix will need to be at the best to counter the attacking prowess of Sydney-s Alex Brosque and Mark Bridge.

“They-re quality players and if we-re not on our game they can open us up. It-s a big task for us, it-s going to be a big game for the whole team, and we-ve got to show the same commitment that we-ve shown in the past two matches, the same desire to be in the playoffs.”

While the SFS is where Durante has scored his only Hyundai A-League goal, the Phoenix skipper isn-t expecting to repeat the dose on Wednesday.

“I-d love to score again but I-ll just be happy to keep the goals out and let someone else do the scoring.”

Sydney FC vs. Wellington Phoenix
Wednesday, 1 December 2010
Sydney Football Stadium, Sydney
Local kickoff:
7pm (9pm NZDT)
Referee: Gerard Parsons

Live and exclusive broadcast on FOX Sports 2, FS2 HD & Sky Sports 2 (NZ). Hyundai A-League club broadcast partner is SBS 6 (Digital) and The Radio Network (Wellington) 1035AM.

Sydney FC: 1. Liam REDDY (gk), 2. Sebastian RYALL, 3. Stephan KELLER, 5. Hayden FOXE, 6. Hirofumi MORIYASU, 7. Brendan GAN, 8. Stuart MUSIALIK, 11. Kofi DANNING, 12. Shannon COLE, 14. Alex BROSQUE, 15. Terry MCFLYNN (c), 16. Terry ANTONIS, 19. Mark BRIDGE, 20. Ivan NECEVSKI (gk), 21. Scott JAMIESON, 23. Rhyan GRANT, 24. Dimitri PETRATOS
*two to be omitted

In: 21. Scott JAMIESON (flu), 3. Stephan KELLER (concussion)
Out: 9. Bruno CAZARINE (back), 22. Sung-Hwan BYUN (suspension – one week)
Unavailable: Nicky CARLE (Back – 3 Weeks)

Wellington Phoenix: 1. Mark PASTON (gk), 2. Manny MUSCAT, 4. Nick WARD, 6. Tim BROWN, 8. Paul IFILL, 9. Chris GREENACRE, 11. DANIEL, 12. James MUSA, 13. Troy HEARFIELD, 15. Jade NORTH, 17. Vince LIA, 18. Ben SIGMUND, 19. Danny VUKOVIC (gk), 21. Marco ROJAS, 22. Andrew DURANTE (c), 23. Dylan MACALLISTER
*one to be omitted*

In: Ben SIGMUND (returns from suspension), Dylan MACALLISTER (promoted)
Out: Leo BERTOS (groin – 1 week)
Unavailable: Tony LOCHHEAD (groin – 3 weeks), Oscar Roberto CORNEJO (knee – 3 weeks), Leo BERTOS (groin – 1 week), Simon ELLIOTT (calf – 1 week)

Head-to-Head: All matches (played 11): Sydney FC wins 6, Wellington Phoenix wins 4 (1 draw)