After spending much of the season sitting in the bottom two, Wellington Phoenix find themselves on the verge of making the top four. Tonight's match against Central Coast Mariners is an important one for the Phoenix's play-off aspirations, a fact not lost on coach Ricki Herbert.
"All of the teams ahead of us are in the same boat - no one can really afford to slip behind at this point of the season. That creates scenarios where things can be tit-for-tat and can throw up stalemate situations because teams are too cautious and concerned about slipping off the pace," Herbert said.
"I think that, given where we are, we can chance our arm against the Central Coast because three points on Friday night will be critical and will throw us right into the playoffs mix.
"However, it's also important for us to not lose sight of our game-plan by going into this all guns blazing. We have to make sure the performance has balance and structure."
The Phoenix have included Vaughan Coveny, Richard Johnson and Adam Kwasnik into the squad whilst in the Mariners camp, Andrew Clark has been promoted.