Paston cleared to face Roar

GOALKEEPER Mark Paston has boarded a flight to Brisbane with his Wellington Phoenix teammates after passing a fitness test today.

Paston was bothered by a groin strain but played the full 90 minutes in last weekend-s 2-0 win against the Central Coast Mariners in Wellington.

After undergoing treatment during the week, Paston was put through a test today and deemed fit to join the squad for Friday night-s match against Brisbane Roar at Suncorp Stadium.

Paston-s fitness is more good news for the Phoenix, who added highly-rated stopper Danny Vukovic to their goalkeeping unit this week. Paston and Vukovic now go head-to-head in a scrap for the starting goalkeeping spot for the remainder of the season.

Phoenix head coach Ricki Herbert said the number one jersey was Paston-s to lose.

“He-ll start in goal (against Brisbane) as long as he-s right and it looks like he is. Mark-s in the driving seat and it-s his position to lose, really, given he-s done extremely well.

“We haven-t brought Danny here because Mark-s not playing well, we brought Danny in to inject some depth into the position.”

With Vukovic travelling to Brisbane, reserve keeper Griffin McMaster drops out of the squad that beat the Mariners at Westpac Stadium.

The Phoenix will take 16 players to Brisbane, with exciting young striker Mirjan Pavlovic also making the trip and giving Herbert another attacking option on game-day. Aside from the omission of McMaster and the inclusion of an extra player in Pavlovic, the Phoenix squad is unchanged.

“Somebody like Pav is dead hungry,” said Herbert. “He-s had good experience in the A-League and he-ll be fighting for his role.”