Vince Lia is proud to be making his 100th appearance for the Wellington Phoenix against Sydney FC at Allianz Stadium this evening, but he wants to remember the game for taking three points home.
Lia would have reached the milestone much sooner but for a run of injuries over the years, especially in pre-season, and he almost had to wait another week to reach the mark after taking a battering last week.
“Yeh, I-ve been a bit unlucky with injuries but that is part of sport,” Lia said after the team-s training run on the stadium on Friday night.
“I was in the wars again in the first half last week. I got two knocks on the ankle and a bloodied nose but I-ve managed to get right for this week and want to make it count.”
The Phoenix go into the game in last place, one point behind ninth- placed Sydney, but Lia says it is too early for the fans to panic.
“We might be bottom but we are only three points from sixth place, and four from fifth,” he said.
“The way the league has been over the years a few wins and you are right in it.
“I-ve been with the club from the start and when our backs are against the wall is when the character of the side comes through.
“We-ve been in this position before and come out of it and we just need to go back to basics and do what we do best.
“We have to get back to defending well and that starts tonight.
“The boys at the back have so much experience and they need to draw on it.
“We-ve also got players who can score goals but there is perhaps just a bit of confidence lacking.
“One win, or even one goal, can turn things around. We have been chasing games which can be tough, but if we score first we are a hard team to knock over.
“An early goal tonight would be a great way to start my 100th game.”
Wellington Phoenix: Mark Paston, Leo Bertos, Ben Sigmund, Andrew Durante (captain), Tony Lochhead, Alex Smith, Vince Lia, Dani Sanchez, Tyler Boyd, Jeremy Brockie, Stein Huysegems. Substitutes: Glen Moss, Louis Fenton, Paul Ifill, Benji Totori.