Season Preview: Wellington Phoenix

In the lead-up to season 9 of the A-League we’ll be doing an extensive preview of the league club by club- today looking at Wellington Phoenix.

Last Season: 10th.
Last season was a poor one for the Phoenix after 3 years of finals football and saw the end of the Ricky Herbert era at the club. They lost their valuable home field advantage last year winning just 5 times at home so that will be a big area to address as they move forward this year.

Manager: Ernie Merrick
After 2 seasons away from the league Ernie Merrick is back and in charge of the Phoenix after Ricky Herbert was let go in the off-season. The former 2 time premiership and championship winner at Victory has a long way to go to take this side to similar heights.

Kit:
Screenshot_2013-10-3 15.26.30

Squad:
1) Moss, 2) Muscat, 3) Caira, 4) Adams, 5) Boxall, 6) Brindell-South, 7) Bertos, 8) Ifill, 9) Cunningham, 10) Huysegems, 11) Brockie, 12) Boyd, 14) Rufer, 16) Fenton, 17) Lia, 18) Sigmund, 19) Hernandez, 20) Italiano, 22) Durante, 32) Gulley, 35) Watson, 39) Bertsch.

Ins:
Carlos Hernandez (Prayag United- India), Lewis Italiano (Perth Glory), Luke Adams (Derby County- England), Kenny Cunningham (The Strongest-Bolivia), Reece Caira (Western Sydney Wanderers), Alex Rufer (Wairarapa United), Josh Brindell-South (Moreton Bay United).

Outs:
Mark Paston (Retired), Corey Gameiro (Fulham- loan return), Isaka Cernak (Perth Glory), Ian Hogg (Released), Alex Smith (Oakleigh Cannons- VPL), Tony Lochhead (Released), Dani Sanchez (Tuen Mun- Hong Kong), Lucas Pantelis (Retired), Jimmy Downey (Released), Benjamin Totori (Oakleigh Cannons- VPL), Cameron Lindsay (Team Wellington).

Key player: Carlos Hernandez.
After a season away in India, one of the league’s best foreigners is back and is set to be the most important player for the Phoenix. Alongside Paul Ifill and youngster Louis Fenton they could be a formidable attack this year.

Expected starting XI: (4-4-2)
843482_Wellington_Phoenix_FC

Last Season against Brisbane:
Round 3:
Wellington Phoenix 1-1 Brisbane Roar
Round 13: Brisbane Roar 2-1 Wellington Phoenix
Round 23: Brisbane Roar 2-0 Wellington Phoenix

Meetings this season:
October 13th: Wellington Phoenix vs. Brisbane Roar
December 14th: Wellington Phoenix vs. Brisbane Roar
January 24th: Brisbane Roar vs. Wellington Phoenix

Pre-season form:
Wellington Olympic 0-4 Wellington Phoenix
Miramar Rangers 2-5 Wellington Phoenix
Lower Hutt City 3-3 Wellington Phoenix
Petone 1-6 Wellington Phoenix
Western Sydney 2-1 Wellington Phoenix
Newcastle Jets 0-1 Wellington Phoenix
Sydney FC 0-3 Wellington Phoenix
Capital Football XI 1-2 Wellington Phoenix
New Zealand A 1-1 Wellington Phoenix
Auckland City 1-0 Wellington Phoenix

Brisbane connections:
None.

Prediction:
They should be a more competitive side than they were last season and as usual their home form will be vital for a strong campaign. For mine however they’re still lacking something in the middle of midfield and until they get a bit more creativity in there I cant see them making the finals.

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