Wellington Phoenix are cursing their travel schedule as they lick their wounds from another A-League defeat.
Phoenix were never at the races in a 3-1 defeat to Melbourne City on Monday night.
It's the latest in a bruising streak of away days that has Merrick craving home comforts.
The Nix have played just twice in Wellington in their last 10 outings - for two draws against top six clubs Sydney and Brisbane.
Merrick said his travelling side's efforts were on a par with Western Sydney's attempts to catch up games in light of their Asian Champions League commitments last year.
"This travel schedule is killing us," he said. "We've rarely been playing in our own stadium in Westpac.
"And what that means is that you're travelling more, which means you have to recover more, which means less time for preparation.
"If it was home and away, home and away for all clubs I think it would be fairer all round."
Their next home game - on Saturday against Central Coast - is in Christchurch, which means even more travel.
But the flipside is Phoenix have the opportunity to come home strongly, with six of their last 10 matches in Wellington, where they haven't lost since round one.
It means Merrick is still optimistic they can bridge an ever-growing gulf to the top six, which stands at seven points.
"You have to have that belief," he said. "We can't let this gap grow."
Merrick said the long-term absence of Roy Krishna, and Jeffrey Sarpong joining him on the injury list, was hurting Wellington's chances of jumping up the table.
"We really need two good quality, experienced strikers and we've struggled with that," he said. "We've got a space plus we can bring in an injury replacement player.
"I'm not going to bring in someone unless they're exactly what I'm after.
"You never know what can happen before the end of the window but I haven't got anyone (lined up) in particular."