No Lying Low For Lia On Return


Vince Lia could be in for a busy time when he returns to the Wellington Phoenix starting line up against defending Hyundai A-League champions Brisbane Roar at Westpac Stadium on Sunday.

Lia, on the comeback trail after a knee injury, will slot in at right back in place of the suspended Manny Muscat and will have the task of keeping Roar danger man Thomas Broich quiet.

“Yeah, Broich, Henrique . . . any of them can be coming at you when you play the Roar,” Lia said with a smile.

“As a footballing side Brisbane are the best in the league and you have to be mentally right and disciplined against them.

“Sure, they had a rough patch when some of their key players were missing, but they are back on song now and it will be a tough game for us.

“It is a massive game, an old-fashioned six pointer, with a win giving us a buffer over them in second spot.”

Despite preferring to play in a midfield role, Lia doesn-t mind filling in for Muscat on the right of defence and is confident he can do a good job.

Despite the Phoenix- lofty position, Lia isn-t getting carried away and says he and his team-mates are well aware there is still a long way to go.

“We-ve probably got the toughest run in and it will be the old cliché of one game at a time for us,” he said.

“Given our off-field problems pre-season I suppose it was natural that people didn-t expect much of us.

“There was talk about us being in a holding pattern this season till the new owners got a feel for the club.

“That was something the players didn-t want to hear and it produced a real hunger to succeed within the squad.

“We-ve quietened a few people but the job isn-t done yet. If we felt it was then things could fall apart.

“This week we will concentrate on the Roar, then next week the Mariners, and so on.

“There is a lot of confidence in the squad after our recent run and we have shown we are a hard team to break down because we defend from the front and have a solid back four.”

Lia for Muscat is likely to be the only change with striker Mirjan Pavlovic likely to be on the bench if a knee problem doesn-t bother him in Saturday-s final training session.

Likely line up: Mark Paston, Vince Lia, Ben Sigmund, Andrew Durante (captain), Tony Lochhead, Leo Bertos, Tim Brown, Alex Smith, Dani Sanchez, Paul Ifill, Chris Greenacre. Subs: Tony Warner, Daniel, Jimmy Downey, Mirjan Pavlovic.