The Wellington Phoenix’ All Whites might be away on international duty this weekend but the impressive signings coach Ernie Merrick has acquired will be on show when his team take on a Central League selection at Weka Park on Sunday.
Having so many New Zealand internationals in the squad has in previous seasons been something of an Achilles heel for the Phoenix, with the FFA probably the only federation in the world not recognising Fifa international windows.
It has meant the Phoenix have been under strength for two or three games each Hyundai A-League season, but that won’t be the case this time around.
While the squad’s All Whites will still be missed during international windows Merrick’s canny signings will mean the Wellington side will be competitive.
The arrival of former Sunderland reserve skipper Alex Rodriguez and Ajax Academy graduate Roly Bonevacia has added more class to an already impressive midfield line up, and Kapiti Coast fans will have the chance to see them up close on Sunday.
The Phoenix midfield on Sunday will also include Albert Riera who, in many observers’ eyes was the man of the match when the Foxtel A-League All Stars took on Italian giants Juventus in Sydney earlier this month.
Having such depth in midfield will also mean that Costa Rican international Kenny Cunningham can move back to his preferred striking role after being pressed into service as a midfielder out of necessity last season.
Former Socceroo Nathan Burns, who has been impressive in pre-season games and training sessions will also be in the side on Sunday.
The Weka Park game kicks off at 2pm.