Wellington Phoenix are approaching Wednesday’s game against table-topping Brisbane Roar positively.
Despite their poor record on the road this season, Wellington Phoenix are approaching Wednesday-s game against table-topping Brisbane Roar positively.
With only one loss this season, 0-3 to Melbourne Victory back in September, the Roar present a formidable obstacle for any team but coach Ricki Herbert will make sure his team are in the right mindset as they chase a playoff spot at Gold Coast United-s Skilled Park ground where the game will be played through.the unavailability of Suncorp Stadium.
“We are here with the aim of getting points. Why would we be thinking otherwise?” he said before their final training session.
“That is the mindset we have to take into the game. We have been playing well in recent weeks and need to continue in the same vein.
“Some players will need to be readied for Sunday-s game against Newcastle but you can-t look too far forward.
“Points on the board are important and we will be putting our best foot forward against Brisbane because at the end of the day we could go back home and get beat by Newcastle.”
Herbert has stuck with the squad that saw the Phoenix beat Perth 4-0 on Sunday and added young striker Mirjan Pavlovich.
While there won-t be wholesale changes to the starting line up, Herbert said there would be some tinkering with the aim of freshening up players during a period that sees the Phoenix play six games in 22 days.
“Greenie (Chris Greenacre) will be champing at the bit to get on from the start, and it may be a chance to give Marco (Rojas) a bit of a break before letting him loose on Newcastle next Sunday.”
Including Greenacre would give Herbert the chance to rest Dylan Macallister who has carried a big workload in recent weeks while scoring four goals in his last five appearances.
The Phoenix-s improved form has coincided with the return of fullback Tony Lochhead from a long injury layoff, which hasn-t gone unnoticed by captain Andrew Durante,
“It is no coincidence that we-ve only conceded a couple of goals since Tony came back,” Durante said.
“He gives us balance throughout the team, not just in the back four.
“Tony has got himself really fit after a long layoff. He gets down the line well and puts in good crosses. His presence frees Manny up in the midfield where he does a great job.”
Team from (1 to be omitted): Danny Vukovic, Manny Muscat, Andrew Durante (captain), Ben Sigmund, Tony Lochhead, Manny Muscat, Vince Lia, Tim Brown, Nicky Ward, Dylan Macallister, Chris Greenacre, Marco Rojas, Mirjan Pavlovic, Daniel, Oscar Roberto Cornejo, Reece Crowther.