Daniel Richardson

Daniel Richardson is a Wellington-based sports journalist for NZME. News Service.

Soccer: Herbert has study to do

Ricki Herbert. Photo / Getty Images.
Ricki Herbert. Photo / Getty Images.

Tomorrow is a day off for the Wellington Phoenix but head coach Ricki Herbert will be busy studying.

Herbert has been tied up on international duty during the past six days and didn't see the Phoenix's upcoming opponents the Brisbane Roar destroy the Melbourne Victory 5-0 in Queensland on Sunday.

But with his Phoenix hat firmly back on, Herbert will now have to construct a gameplan for the Wellingtonians who meet the rampant Roar at Westpac Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Wellington have enjoyed a positive start to the season following a 2-0 home win over Sydney FC in week one and a fighting 1-1 draw against the Melbourne Heart during the weekend where they were forced to go on the road without seven players due to international commitments.

Phoenix goalkeeping coach Jonathan Gould has the footage of the Roar for Herbert to view.

"Gouldy's brought the tape back for me that he's had sent over," Herbert said. "So I'm going to grab that. We've got a day off tomorrow and we'll get things right for Friday."

Herbert was pleased to report there were no injuries to his All White representatives after they recorded back-to-back victories over Tahiti during the past few days in their World Cup qualifiers.

Goalkeeper Mark Paston missed both games with a foot infection but Herbert said he would have no issue throwing the big custodian back between the sticks against Brisbane.

"Mark should be okay. He warmed up last night [for the All Whites]. He's probably more comfortable than what he has been. So I think he would be fine for Sunday."

If Paston doesn't recover - and he has a lengthy injury history during his career - Glen Moss, who kept two clean sheets for the All Whites against Tahiti, will wear the gloves against the Roar.

The Phoenix line-up for Sunday is likely to be very similar to the one who were so impressive against Sydney in week one, with the only potential change being Paul Ifill's inclusion in the starting XI.

The former Barbados international, who missed training today with a slight groin niggle, played from the bench against Sydney but started in Sunday's draw with Melbourne.

Although it was Ifill's penalty that restored parity for the Phoenix on the scoreboard, he looked off the pace around the park against the Heart.

Ifill could come in for either Benjamin Totori, who played two internationals for the Solomon Islands during the past week, or youngster Louis Fenton.

Both Totori or Fenton would give Herbert a strong option from the bench, with Ifill unlikely to go for 90 minutes.

- APNZ

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