Reliable Phoenix defender Ben Sigmund is in doubt for
Sunday's clash against Sydney FC in Wellington, while boom
rookie Louis Fenton needs to overcome an ankle problem to play.
As the Phoenix trained in bright sunshine at their Newtown
Park base today (fri), Fenton was doing his own sprints and
ball work but the bigger concern was around Sigmund who is
battling a groin ailment.
The 31-year-old has formed a solid defensive partnership with
skipper Andrew Durante at the heart of the Phoenix back four
in recent seasons and his withdrawal would be a big blow.
Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert hoped to be able to call on
Sigmund for the game but would make a decision tomorrow
(sat), with Michael Boxall forming a ready-made replacement
"We'll just give him that extra time till tomorrow and
hopefully he'll come through it," Herbert said of Sigmund.
"Louie's young, I'm sure that adrenalin will go through his
body and hopefully he'll be okay as well."
Fenton has played from the pine in recent weeks but if he was
to be scratched the door would swing open for Dani Sanchez to
be included in a match-day squad for the first time this
The Spaniard has been on the shelf for an extended period
with a knee injury but got through a decent shift for the
Phoenix reserve side against Waitakere United during the week
and would add useful diversity to the bench for Herbert.
Sanchez produced flashes of brilliance for the Phoenix last
summer when he was deployed in the centre of the midfield but
was less effective when he played out on the left towards the
back end of the season.
In other injury news, goalkeeper Glen Moss will undergo
surgery next week to treat a sports hernia and the expected
recovery time is seven to 10 days so the All Whites custodian
should be back on deck in two weeks.
Sydney FC have injury concerns of their own after marquee man
Alessandro Del Piero was ruled out of Sunday's game with a
The Glamour Club of the A-League currently sit at the bottom
of the ladder and are now under the guidance of former
Australian national coach Frank Farina.
The Phoenix comfortably disposed of Sydney 2-0 during the
opening round of the season in October but Herbert said
Sunday wouldn't be a guaranteed three points despite the Sky
Blues' woeful form of late.
"The side's probably a little bit different than we had in
the first round. But, look, I think like any side in the
league I'm sure their expectations are to be at the top of
the league not the bottom so they'll be hungry. But our
form's good too so we've got to keep going and hopefully we
can get another three this week."
The Phoenix are unbeaten during their past three games and
brushed aside the Western Sydney Wanderers 1-0 in Wellington
last weekend but Herbert said he wanted his side to be more
clinical in front of goal this weekend.
At the end of training today Jeremy Brockie, Tyler Boyd, Paul
Ifill, Vince Lia and Alex Smith all put in an extensive
amount of shooting work and Herbert will hope that comes in
handy on Sunday.