Football: Des Buckingham seeks final flourish on inconsistent Phoenix season

Phoenix co-coach Des Buckingham watches on during the A-League game against Melbourne City. Photo/Photosport
Phoenix co-coach Des Buckingham watches on during the A-League game against Melbourne City. Photo/Photosport

Des Buckingham wants one final win to wrap up the Wellington Phoenix's up-and-down season, before his focus shifts to contemplating a more long-term future at the A-League club.

Seventh on the ladder - five points astray of sixth-placed Western Sydney - Wellington have no chance of making the play-offs.

But Buckingham, co-coach alongside Chris Greenacre since early December, says there'll be no change in approach for the Phoenix's final game against fourth-placed Brisbane Roar on Sunday.

"We finished the back-end of last season on a bit of a downward spiral - four losses back to back - whereas this season's finishing on a positive in terms of results," he said.

The Phoenix have collected seven points from their last three matches, including a 3-0 away win over second-placed Melbourne Victory and a fighting 1-1 draw with runaway competition leaders Sydney FC.

They also beat Brisbane 2-1 in late February, when the two teams last met at Suncorp Stadium.

Buckingham and Greenacre, who took over when Ernie Merrick resigned eight weeks into the season, have since accumulated a six-win, six-draw, six-loss record. The pair have been told they'll be interviewed separately next week for the head coach role.

"Then the decision will be made as to whether that's myself, Chris, a combination or neither," Buckingham said.

Although Wellington Phoenix have finished the season on a positive note, their lack of consistency is an area Buckingham says will need to be addressed.

"The biggest noticeable thing for us this year has been especially the back-line. We've been unable to field a very similar or the same back-line for a lot of the games we've had and that's quite an important area."

However, he said there was no real need for a huge swathe of signings.

"I don't feel there is a great need - I think there are two or three real key areas that need strengthening."

Wellington have lost well-performed young defender Jacob Tratt, who has returned to Sydney, and experienced striker Shane Smeltz, who has signed with Indonesian club Pusamania Borneo FC.

Influential midfielder Roly Bonevacia, who comes off contract at the end of the season, is rumoured to be making the shift across the ditch to Western Sydney Wanderers.

"But a lot of the players that have started the last couple of games, especially, are all contracted here for next season," Buckingham said.

"With a few adjustments, this team's ready to go for next year."

-AAP

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