Wellington Phoenix talisman Paul Ifill is delighted the club will kick off the 2012-13 Hyundai A-League at home.
The Phoenix will host Sydney FC at Westpac Stadium on Saturday October 6, the first of 14 home games, though two will be played outside Wellington.
The Phoenix will host Melbourne Heart at Forsyth Barr Stadium on March 3. That game is part of the FFA-s community round and has to be played outside Wellington. The other match venue on February 2 has yet to be decided.
Including those two games the Phoenix will have 14 home fixtures with four played on Saturdays, nine on Sundays and one on a Thursday (December 27).
“It is always good to play the first game at home because it gives you a better chance to make a winning start,” Ifill said.
“Having said that, it is a pretty tough start with five of the first eight away, including a trip to Perth.
“On the plus side four of the last six are at home which is the opposite to what we had last season.”
Ifill said the draw being announced was always exciting because it signalled the build-up was about to begin.
“There is still more than three months before the Sydney game but you feel it is on the horizon when the draw comes out.
“This is the time of year when the transfer rumour mill is in full swing and hopefully we-ll have a couple of more signings.
“Pre-season is a bit of a grind but once you get halfway through it seems to go faster.”
Head coach Ricki Herbert agreed with Ifill that a home game first up is good news.
“It is exciting for the fans because they can get into the swing of things straight away,” Herbert said.
“Sydney are looked upon as one of the glamour sides of the competition and they will provide a stiff test for us.
“We-ve made the playoffs in the last three seasons and the challenge for us this year is to do even better and make the final.”
The Phoenix- Hyundai A-League 2012-13 season draw:
October 6: v Sydney FC (home)
October 14: v Melbourne Heart (away)
October 21: v Brisbane Roar (home)
October 27: v Adelaide United (away)
November 5: v Melbourne Victory (away)
November 11: v Central Coast Mariners (home)
November 18: v Newcastle Jets (away)
November 24: v Perth Glory (away)
December 2: v Western Sydney (home)
December 9: v Sydney FC (home)
December 16: v Adelaide United (away)
December 22: v Central Coast Mariners (home)
December 27: v Melbourne Heart (home)
January 1: v Brisbane Roar (away)
January 5: v Melbourne Victory (away)
January 13: v Western Sydney (home)
January 19: v Sydney FC (away)
January 27: v Newcastle Jets (home)
February 2: v Perth Glory (tbc)
February 7: v Central Coast Mariners (away)
February 17: v Brisbane Roar (away)
February 24: v Adelaide United (home)
March 3: v Melbourne Heart (home, Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin)
March 10: v Western Sydney (away)
March 17: v Perth Glory (away)
March 23: v Newcastle Jets (home)
March 31: v Melbourne Victory (home)