The Wellington Phoenix men have secured matches against two A-League opponents in the final two weeks of their lengthy pre-season campaign.
The Phoenix will play Newcastle Jets in Sydney this Saturday (October 7) before heading to Melbourne next weekend to play Melbourne Victory.
Both fixtures will be played behind closed doors and both trips for the Nix men will be just one night stays in Australia to minimise the time the players have to spend away from their families before their Isuzu UTE A-League season opener at Western Sydney Wanderers on Sunday, October 22.
Phoenix head coach Giancarlo Italiano is grateful to have the opportunity to play two really tough opponents before the season starts.
“The one thing that I’ve stressed from day one is the importance of competitive fixtures for us now we’re playing a new system,” Italiano said.
“It’s no disrespect to the Central League teams that we’ve played in pre-season, but in order to achieve an intensity and see how the system works we need to play opponents that are at a similar level, if not better.
“The Jets are young, vibrant and have a new coach with new ideas which is similar to us so it’s going to be a good match-up, while the Victory are an established team with a good coach that has been around for a long time.
“They both play different styles so we can test how our system matches up.”
Phoenix men’s pre-season matches:
Saturday, October 7 vs Newcastle Jets – Sydney
Saturday, October 14 vs Melbourne Victory – Melbourne