Phoenix to ease player shortage


Wellington coach Ricki Herbert is lining up transfer targets to offset an early season player shortage.

Long-term injuries to stalwart Vince Lia and newcomer Lucas Pantelis have left the New Zealanders short on numbers just two matches in to the 2011/12 Hyundai A League season.

Wellington completed a 2-0 win over Newcastle Jets at Westpac Stadium on Sunday to set up a promising, unbeaten start to the campaign.

But the victory came at a cost to Herbert’s already depleted squad. Marquee attacker Paul Ifill lasted just 15 minutes before he was replaced by goal-scoring substitute Daniel.

New Zealand midfielder Tim Brown scored the Phoenix opening goal but finds himself facing a ban after his sending off, receiving a second yellow card in injury time.

Fellow schemer Nick Ward picked up a straight red for his earlier challenge on Ryan Griffiths.

Herbert contested both dismissals, pleading for “common sense” from officials.

But suspensions, injury and upheaval at board room level over the off season have all contributed to minimal movement in the market.

And the Kiwis’ boss admitted that the club would have to alter its strategy after early season injuries and suspensions.

“The club have made a stance just to have what we had, and I think to get everybody’s feet under the table and build that over the next period of time, whether that be over the next month, six months or the next couple of years,” he said.

“The injuries have thrown a little bit of a spanner in the works, so probably not players I would’ve wanted to sign, but now we’re going to have to move in the market, for Lucas Pantelis and Vince Lia, who’s probably going to be 10 weeks.

“There’s probably two now who we’re going to have to say we’re going to have to move as quickly as we can.”

As a result, Herbert is poised to give former Blackburn Rovers youngster Cameron Lindsay a debut outing in next week’s marathon away trip to Western Australia.

He said: “He’s probably got a great opportunity to just drop into the midfield against Perth away next week, so stranger things have happened.”

The coach also said he was pleased to see the Phoenix fans pay tribute to outgoing owner Terry Serepisos, who lost control of the club pre-season.

Serepisos attended the game, and the club’s Yellow Fever supporters’ group raised a banner expressing their appreciation before kick-off.

“Everybody just wanted to acknowledge it and it was good to see him,” he added.