Herbert prepared to ring the changes

THE Wellington Phoenix squad in Perth faces an anxious wait to learn the makeup of the run-on team for Sunday’s match against Perth Glory.

THE Wellington Phoenix squad in Perth faces an anxious wait to learn the makeup of the run-on team for Sunday-s match against Perth Glory.

Head coach Ricki Herbert has taken a 16-man squad on the marathon away trip, with new attacking midfielder Nick Ward hooking up with his new teammates in the Western Australian capital on Thursday.

Following last weekend-s disappointing loss to the Brisbane Roar at Suncorp Stadium, Herbert indicated he was prepared to shake things up when naming his match-day lineup for the Perth clash.

“No, we haven-t decided yet (on the team),” Herbert said. “We-re going to wait till Saturday. It-ll be a tough call come the weekend. With Nicky coming in we have to decide whether we-ll bring him straight into the starting XI and we-re still contemplating that. We have to get him accustomed to what we-re about and how we want to play, but he-s an intelligent guy with a good background in football and he-ll slot in pretty quickly.

“There are a few (selection) headaches to go through over the next couple of days.”

The Phoenix were particularly flat in the first half against Brisbane, though they were unfortunate to not grab an away point in a match that was generally close throughout.

Several of the Wellington club-s key players were below par and Herbert said he would pick his starting XI in Perth based on form, not reputation.

“It-s not a case of how certain players have performed in the past, it-s a case of how they-re performing now. We-ve got real depth in the squad and competition for places, so every player is on notice that things can and will change if it-s deemed necessary. The players need to demonstrate that they-re hungry to play and that they-re ready to fight for their position in the team.”

Fullback Manny Muscat is sway on international duty with Malta and will miss the Perth match, while Socceroos defender Jade North is due to come into the selection frame for the Phoenix-s next home match against Sydney FC on September 11.

The remainder of the Phoenix-s extended squad is available for selection, with goalkeeper Mark Paston the only regular starter under any sort of injury cloud with a groin niggle.

“Nobody-s missed training this week and Mark-s done everything we-ve asked of him,” said Herbert. “He-s still got to get through the long-range kicking but we-ll give him till Saturday before any decision is made.”

The Phoenix will need to fire on all cylinders on Sunday if they are to roll the league-leading Perth Glory at nib Stadium.

“They-re a good strong side that probably got out of jail a wee bit (against Melbourne Heart) with a late penalty, and we all know about the repercussions of that with Michael Baird being suspended for two matches.

“They-re still getting the points. (Coach) Dave Mitchell has always got a good side and they-ll be hard to beat. But we-ll be ready for them.”

Perth Glory v Wellington Phoenix
Sunday, 5 September 2010
nib Stadium, Perth
Local kick-off:
3pm (5pm AEST, 7pm NZST)
Referee: Ben Williams

Live and exclusive broadcast on FOX Sports 1, FS1 HD & on Sky Sport 1. Hyundai A-League club broadcast partner is 882 6PR (Perth) and 1035AM The Radio Network (Wellington).

Perth Glory squad: 1. Tando VELAPHI (gk), 2. Josh MITCHELL, 3. Jamie COYNE, 4. Andy TODD, 5. Jamie HARNWELL, 7. Jacob BURNS (c), 9.Robbie FOWLER, 11. Branko JELIC, 12. Scott NEVILLE, 14. Steven McGARRY, 16. Adriano PELLEGRINO, 17. Todd HOWARTH, 19. Naum SEKULOVSKI, 20. Aleks VRTESKI (gk), 21. Mile STERJOVSKI, 22. Anthony SKORICH, 23. Andrija JUKIC, 24. Josh RISDON
*three to be omitted*

In: Andy TODD (returns from injury), Jamie HARNWELL (returns from injury), Mile STERJOVSKI (returns from injury), 23. Andrija JUKIC (promoted)
Out: Michael BAIRD (suspended – 2 weeks)
Unavailable: Victor SIKORA (hip- 4 weeks), Chris COYNE (On loan – 11 weeks)

Wellington Phoenix squad: 1. Mark PASTON (gk), 3. Tony LOCHHEAD, 4. Nick WARD, 6. Tim BROWN, 7. Leo BERTOS, 8. Paul IFILL, 9. Chris GREENACRE, 10. Oscar Roberto CORNEJO, 11. DANIEL, 13. Troy HEARFIELD, 14. Mirjan PAVLOVIC, 17. Vince LIA, 18. Ben SIGMUND, 19. Danny VUKOVIC (gk), 22. Andrew DURANTE (c), 23. Dylan MACALLISTER
*one to be omitted*

In: Nick WARD (new signing)
Out: Manny MUSCAT (international duty – 1 week)
Unavailable: Diego WALSH (knee – 2 weeks), Jade NORTH (overseas – 1 week), Reece CROWTHER (gk, ribs – 6 weeks), Manny MUSCAT (international duty – 1 week)

Head-to-Head: All matches (played 10): Perth Glory wins 3, Wellington Phoenix wins 4 (3 draws)