Phoenix keeping busy during break

MOMENTUM and consistency are the buzzwords at Wellington Phoenix FC as the club works on continuing the good form shown in its most recent match of the Hyundai A-League 2008/09 season.

The Phoenix turned in their best performance of the season to date in the 2-1 win against Sydney FC in round 11, the win coming on the back of a complete showing across the park.

Now, with the Hyundai A-League taking another break for Fifa international requirements, the onus is on Ricki Herbert and his men to maintain and build the intensity ahead of the clash with the Newcastle Jets at Westpac Stadium on Sunday week.

The Phoenix will keep busy during the break, starting with a training match against New Zealand Football Championship side Waitakere United on Saturday. Seven members of the Phoenix have also been selected in Herbert-s New Zealand squad for Wednesday-s World Cup qualifier in Lautoka – a dead rubber given that the All Whites have already won the Oceania Nations Cup.

“These matches are a good opportunity for some players to get some game time,” Herbert said. “It was a decent result against Sydney and sometimes you do want to keep that momentum going. We know where we need to get to and at what level we need to play at for the remainder of the season.”

Four of five of the Phoenix-s coming matches are at home and Herbert is keen to ensure the club capitalises on home ground advantage by garnering as many competition points as possible.

“We have probably not made the best starts in matches we-ve played at home but now we-ve got four good chances to change that around. It is about consistency. When you look at the league there-s really no club that-s made a really good run at it from top to bottom. So any small run, certainly at the moment, will be beneficial and we have chance to do that given that we are in good form.”

The Phoenix are sixth on the Hyundai A-League 2008/09 table and within striking distance of the top four. The result against Sydney FC – the Phoenix-s second win against the competition-s glamour boys this season – has proven that the Wellington-based outfit has the talent and ability to give the Hyundai A-League a real shake-up.

“There were 15 very, very focused players who achieved that result against Sydney,” Herbert said. “I don-t like to use the word commitment because that should be a given at this level but the individual performances were good across the park and the application to the task was top-notch.

“If we can ensure that level of performance and application is delivered for the remainder of the season then we-ll win far more matches than we lose and we-ll be in the reckoning when the playoffs approach.”