Daniel Richardson

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

Football: McGlinchey saga continues

Michael McGlinchey began training with the Wellington Phoenix from today. Photo / Getty Images.
Michael McGlinchey began training with the Wellington Phoenix from today. Photo / Getty Images.

The Wellington Phoenix are pushing the pace on the Michael McGlinchey issue.

The All Whites midfielder, who wants out of his deal with the Central Coast Mariners and recently finished a loan stint with Japanese club Vengalta Sendai, began training with the Phoenix today.

Wellington coach Ernie Merrick is limited in what he can say on the matter but it's clear that McGlinchey wants to be at the Phoenix and the club want to sign him immediately.

"We'll wait and see what his contractual status is and we'll take it from there," Merrick said. "Always the sooner the better.

"I feel like there's a player in limbo and his situation needs to be resolved."

McGlinchey was off limits to the media after training but when Merrick was asked if allowing him to train with the Phoenix was forcing the issue, the coach said: "I've got no comment."

It's understood the Mariners, who are exploring their legal options, want something in return for McGlinchey and they released a statement yesterday, which included comment from their chairman and majority owner Michael Charlesworth.

"We are currently seeking legal advice to prevent Michael from playing for any club without our authority from now until 1 January 2015, the day that he is expected back at the Mariners to fulfil his contract," Charlesworth said.

The Phoenix have 20 contracted players heading in to the upcoming season, which gets underway in October, and outside of trying to add McGlinchey, Merrick said the club wanted to sign another defender and attacking midfielder.

New recruit Nathan Burns has looked sharp in training, Merrick said, despite having spent time on holiday recently.

Long-serving Phoenix players Ben Sigmund and Vince Lia have been limited with minor niggles of late but Merrick expected them to be fit to meet English Premier League sides West Ham and Newcastle later this month during the Football United Tour.

Meanwhile, Paul Ifill has continued to recover from his torn Achilles tendon and remains a chance to re-sign with the Phoenix for the upcoming season.

The club have an import spot open, while the veteran attacker could qualify as a local in a couple of months, which gives him another option.

As a show of good faith, the Phoenix have allowed Ifill to rehabilitate using their facilities and he has progressed to running.

"Eventually we'll have to make a decision on that," Merrick said of Ifill. "But at the moment it's great to see Paul doing so well."

- APNZ

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf05 at 27 Dec 2014 17:33:21 Processing Time: 494ms