Season Reaches Fever Pitch

Wellington Phoenix captain Andrew Durante is hoping the capital’s football fans turn out in big numbers for Sunday’s game against Newcastle Jets at Westpac Stadium.

Wellington Phoenix captain Andrew Durante is hoping the capital-s football fans turn out in big numbers for Sunday-s game against Newcastle Jets at Westpac Stadium.

With the Phoenix-s playoff hopes hanging in the balance. nothing less than a win over the Jets will suffice and while Durante is confident of taking three vital points he believes the fans can play their part.

“Our supporters, especially the Yellow Fever, have been fantastic right through, but if ever we needed them it is now.

“Everyone realises how important this game is and the fans can help us get over the line.”

The Phoenix go into what Durante describes as a “massive” game on the back of a heart-breaking 2-0 loss to Hyundai A-League leaders Brisbane Roar at Skilled Park on Wednesday night.

Playing the Roar away was always going to be a tough assignment given Brisbane-s form this season, but the Phoenix were comfortably holding the home team scoreless till a cruel break six minutes from the final whistle saw Durante deflect a shot from Roar substitute James Meyer into his own goal.

“That was heart breaking,” Durante said.

“We had worked so hard, kept to our game plan, and didn-t really feel threatened defensively.

“Roar found it hard to get strikes on goal and I don-t think they would have scored had they not got that stroke of luck.

“It was really unfortunate. I just stuck a leg out and Danny (Vukovic) had no chance.

“We chased the game for the last few minutes and that-s why we conceded the second goal.”

Coach Ricki Herbert will stick with the squad he took to the Gold Coast, but won-t make any decisions on the starting XI till the team have trained at Westpac Stadium on Saturday morning.

“With the short turnaround we won-t do much before Sunday and we-ll see how the players pull up over the next couple of days,” Herbert said.

“We have to be a good chance of beating Newcastle given our recent performances.

“The players know what is required of them. They were disappointed with what happened against Roar, but we have everything to play for and making the playoffs is still in our own hands.”

Crowd numbers should be helped by the 5000 tickets released by Phoenix owner Terry Serepisos at $5 each with the proceeds going to the Queensland Flood Relief Fund.

Some $5 tickets are still available from the Phoenix Club Store in Hunter Street.

The game kicks off at 5pm.

Phoenix squad: 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.