Soccer: Greenacre eyeing future

By Daniel Richardson

Interim Phoenix coach Chris Greenacre will work towards the future with his player selections during the final few games of the Wellington Phoenix's lacklustre A-League campaign. Photo / Getty Images.
Interim Phoenix coach Chris Greenacre will work towards the future with his player selections during the final few games of the Wellington Phoenix's lacklustre A-League campaign. Photo / Getty Images.

Interim Phoenix coach Chris Greenacre will work towards the future with his player selections during the final few games of the Wellington Phoenix's lacklustre A-League campaign.

The Wellingtonians have gone from the sublime to the sub-par in their on-field exploits this season, and issues off the park plagued the club and clearly put the players under extra pressure as they fell out of the race for the playoffs.

But with foundation coach Ricki Herbert having moved on, assistant Greenacre was thrown the reins last week to see the side to the end of the regular season.

Their next stop comes across the Tasman when they meet the Western Sydney Wanderers at Parramatta Stadium on Sunday evening.

Striker Stein Huysegems will be suspended after he was sent off during last weekend's 1-0 win over the Melbourne Heart in Dunedin and Greenacre wouldn't be drawn on a replacement today.

Manny Muscat was deployed at right back last weekend - arguably his best position - while Leo Bertos was pushed back in to the midfield, which added to a more complete Phoenix performance.

As for whether Muscat would keep his position in defence, Greenacre again danced around the question.

"We are also looking to set things up for the future of the club so I'm hoping maybe to bring in one or two other players who maybe you've not seen and that's purely down to the future of the club," Greenacre said.

"So you might see one or two new faces, just one or two things we are contemplating. I don't really want to go in to who those players are but we've got players that we haven't seen so that's something we may look at in the last couple of games."

As for who those players could be, Cameron Lindsay, Ian Hogg and Michael Boxall have all been used sparingly this summer and may be given a chance to forward their case for a bigger role next season.

After playing the league-leading Western Sydney this week, the Phoenix head west to meet the Perth Glory before enjoying a week off during an international window before they round out the campaign by hosting the Melbourne Victory at the Cake Tin on March 31.

The Phoenix looked high on morale at training today and Greenacre said last week's win had given the side a much-needed dose of enthusiasm.

"It was all about confidence for us really. They put in a good performance, they knew they did and I just wanted to give them that free licence to go and enjoy playing again. They seemed to have lost that and we have a really forward-thinking group of attacking players in the squad and I thought it was important for us to try and get back to that."

A host of Phoenix players come off contract at the end of the season and are essentially playing for their future at the club during the next month.

- APNZ

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