Wellington Phoenix midfielder Vince Lia has put his hand up for selection for tomorrow’s Hyundai A-League game against Adelaide United at Auckland’s Eden Park.
Wellington Phoenix midfielder Vince Lia has put his hand up for selection for tomorrow-s Hyundai A-League game against Adelaide United at Auckland-s Eden Park.
Not for the first time since being a founder member of the Phoenix club, Lia has endured a frustrating start to the season through injury, but now he hopes the bad times are behind him.
“Pre-season and the early games has been a difficult time for me since I came here,” Lia said.
“Two years ago I missed the whole year through injury and I thought getting through pre-season unscathed this time was a box ticked off.
“Then I tore my cartilage in the first game and it looked like I was in for a long stint on the sidelines again. Before the operation my surgeon told me I could be out for three weeks to three months, depending on what he found on opening my knee up.
“Thankfully I woke up to good news that there were no serious problems and that I could be back in three to six weeks.”
For Lia watching his team-mates endure a tough start to the season was just as painful as the after effects of the surgery.
“The worst part of being injured is watching, be it at training or on match day,” he said.
“You are powerless to do anything to help and it was especially bad this time with the number of injuries and suspensions we copped.
“Despite that I think we have done really well with the small squad we-ve got. The only game in which we didn-t really perform was against the Mariners and the boys know that.
“Tomorrow is really important for us and I hope I can be a part of it. I-ve got the green light from the physio and I feel good in myself so I-ve put my hand up for selection.”
Lia said watching from the sidelines or on television had made him appreciate just what a good job Chris Greenacre is doing in the striking role.
“No one in the league is better than Greenie in the role he does,” Lia said.
“He rarely loses the ball and works so hard. He is the model professional. If you give him good ball he will score goals.”
Lia has only scored twice during his time at the Phoenix and says he needs to do better in that area.
“When we play two in midfield I don-t get forward much,” he said. “When Manny (Muscat) moved into the midfield last season it gave me more chance but I really do need to get a few more.
“Brownie (Tim Brown) will always get goals and if the rest of us can chip in with two or three each we will be okay.”
Coach Ricki Herbert hasn-t settled on his squad and was waiting to see how everyone pulled up after the final training session at Eden Park tonight.