Soccer: Phoenix looking to find some momentum

By Terry Maddaford

Ricki Herbert has had long enough to make this a regular title chasing team. Photo / Getty Images
Ricki Herbert has had long enough to make this a regular title chasing team. Photo / Getty Images

Five days after snatching a late equaliser with A-League leaders Central Coast Mariners, the Wellington Phoenix are back at Westpac Stadium tomorrow night in another attempt to put a positive spin on their season.

Battling to get out of the mid to lower regions of the points table - they could, depending on other round 13 results, find themselves at the bottom - the Phoenix have to start scoring goals if they are to have any chance of reaching the business end of the season.

Coach Ricki Herbert will tomorrow stick with the same team who claimed the 1-1 draw with the Mariners, again placing his faith in the younger players who were impressive enough but without turning chances into goals against the table-toppers.

"It's all good as far as injuries go,'' said Herbert, who added Leo Bertos has a minor hamstring problem. "It will be the same team, with the same bench.

"I thought the boys did well against Central Coast but we just have to take our chances. But as long as they keep working like they have been, I'm confident the results will come.''

Both teams will have had just a five-day turnaround but the Phoenix have the advantage of playing both games at home and in at least getting something from Saturday's game.

The Heart, however, have to bounce back from the disappointment of a last-minute home loss to bitter rivals Melbourne Victory.

The two teams battled out a 1-1 draw in Melbourne in round two.

Tyler Boyd will again start tomorrow night alongside Jeremy Brockie and Louis Fenton in a lively strikeforce with Dani Sanchez slotting into the attacking midfield role.

Solomon Islander Benjamin Totori will again be on the bench but his introduction is certain to stir the Phoenix faithful after his strong showing against the Mariners.

Defensively, the Phoenix will again be well-organised, although they were badly caught out in allowing the Mariners to carve through to score five days ago.

The Phoenix need to string some convincing results together if they are to be taken as a serious contender which, at this stage, they are not.

Likely Phoenix lineup: Paston; Bertos, Sigmund, Durante, Lochhead; Lia, Muscat, Sanchez; Fenton, Brockie, Boyd.

- APNZ

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