Wellington to take renewed confidence to Newcastle

The Wellington Phoenix finally got the ***** off the back with a confidence boosting win last week over Sydney FC.

With a host of regular contributors unavailable, it was a fantastic effort by the Phoenix to take all three points and it was a result that pleased skipper Andrew Durante who was on the sidelines with the flu.

Durante touched on the fact that players in the squad had gone to another level to achieve the desired result and was excited about the newfound confidence amongst the group.

“As a team it’s fantastic that the players who stepped in for some of the guys who have been playing regularly really did a great job. That shows the depth in the squad and that no one’s position is safe,” Durante said.

Phoenix head coach Ricki Herbert is in the unenviable position of fitting his returning players into a starting line-up that is coming off a victory but it’s a positive position from where the club was a few weeks ago.

Regular goalkeeper Glen Moss returns from injury as does attacking midfielder Leo Bertos whilst defender Jon McKain will be available after attending to personal matters.

Durante, however, will need to prove his fitness to gain a start, especially after the fine performances by central defenders Ben Sigmund and Karl Dodd last week.

“If he (Durante) comes back into the side I think he will be desperate to continue with a decent performance,” Herbert told the NZ Herald.

“I think Karl and Ben showed everything that we needed and it would be difficult to present a case for them not to be a part of what we’re doing.”

On the other hand, the Jets will be forced to make changes after a testing week of injuries has ravaged the first team.

Newly-announced marquee player Joel Griffiths will miss up to three weeks with a hamstring injury as brother Adam has the same problem but on a lesser scale. Jason Hoffman unfortunately had his season end prematurely with a serious knee in jury and James Holland will be with the Young Socceroos.

Herbert was aware of the Jets situation but to him it doesn’t change how his side will go about it.

“They are going to bring players into the side who will be hungry – probably haven’t had a start this year – and will want to impress their manager as well,” Herbert added.

“It’s another good challenge and I think we’re ready for this.”

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