Krishna finds his form and repays coach Merrick’s faith with pace and accuracy

After a tentative start last season, Roy Krishna is beginning to make his presence felt in the A-League.

His well-taken goal during last Sunday's 5-1 romp over Melbourne City was a fine reward for the Phoenix striker who proved difficult to contain at Westpac Stadium.

He also converted a penalty in Wellington's previous outing, a 2-1 road loss to Perth.

Krishna signed with the Phoenix during last season's January transfer window and played in nine games without making an impact.


But Phoenix coach Ernie Merrick thought highly enough of him to re-sign him for two further seasons.

The Fiji international became known to domestic football followers in New Zealand through his goal-scoring exploits with Waitakere United in the ASB Premiership between 2008 and last year.

He then had a brief stay with Auckland City before joining the Phoenix.

Krishna spent two weeks training with the Phoenix in 2008 but wasn't offered a contract.

In 2009, then-Waitakere coach Chris Milicich said he would have been "incredibly stunned" if Krishna was still playing in the national league the following season.

Milicich was one of many who knew Krishna would make the step up, and that it was only a matter of how long it would take.

"I knew when I signed for the Phoenix it was going to be hard for me to get in the starting XI," Krishna said.

"But I needed to work hard off the field and that's what I did and I waited for my chance to have a go."


He has made good on those chances this year and has usurped the departing Jeremy Brockie in the pecking order for a starting spot.

The 27-year-old's pace is his biggest asset, but he is also an accurate penalty-taker, which is something the Phoenix have struggled with in recent seasons.

The past three weeks have gone by quickly but Krishna, who fits nicely into Merrick's front three, said he had received plenty of support from family and friends in Fiji.

"They're really proud of me at the moment," he said. "Their prayers are with me and hopefully I can get some more goals and make them proud."

Merrick has taken a cautious approach with Krishna, and has tried not to rush him during his transition to professional football.

"It's the same with any developing players," Merrick said. "Players are coming in to a new standard, everything's quicker, defenders are quicker.

"So if you've got pace at a lower level it's very beneficial but at this level it's not quite as beneficial because everybody's quick. It's about understanding how we play, how we attack and the type of balls to receive."

Merrick said it was sad to see Brockie leave Wellington but the offer South African club SuperSport United had made to the striker was too good to turn down.

"He goes with our blessing and he's been a great servant to this club," Merrick said.

Brockie will probably be available for the Phoenix until their January 4 fixture against Brisbane.

He will then leave to join his new club when the international transfer window opens.

Because the All White will leave with time remaining on his Phoenix contract, Merrick said a transfer fee was involved, but he wouldn't disclose the figures.

Brockie, who has been in South Africa completing a medical examination with SuperSport this week, was expected to join the Phoenix in Newcastle for tomorrow's outing against the Jets.