If Tyler Boyd can find the back of the net in his first
A-League start for the Wellington Phoenix tomorrow, there's
one person who will be on his mind.
The 17-year-old won't have either of his parents in the
stands at Westpac Stadium tomorrow when the Phoenix meet the
Central Coast Mariners - his mother won't be there because
she is looking after Boyd's sick grandfather in the
The rookie striker is likely to start in place of the injured
Paul Ifill (ankle), who is likely to be sidelined for up to
six weeks. After 11 appearances off the bench this season,
Boyd's starting debut has finally arrived.
"If I can score for my ill grandad, that'd be amazing," Boyd
said. "He's in the Philippines so I'll probably dedicate the
game to him if I get to play.
"My mum is from America so I didn't always get to see him
much but he's pretty dear to me."
Boyd had a chance to nail his first A-League goal last Sunday
but his penalty - and follow-up shot - was expertly saved by
Adelaide United goalkeeper Eugene Galekovic, which capped a
frustrating afternoon for the Phoenix who lost 3-1.
"I thought I hit it pretty well but [Galekovic] made two
unbelievable saves and I just have to forget about that and
move on to the next game," Boyd said.
The result left the Phoenix in seventh on the A-League ladder
and there's no let-up for Ricki Herbert's side against
Central Coast tomorrow.
Wellington have come under increased scrutiny recently as the
club tries to find a more attacking formula that can
entertain fans and produce results on the field.
Boyd will join fellow school of excellence graduate Louis
Fenton in the starting XI and tomorrow's outing will mark the
first time the pair have started a match together.
Former Belgian international Stein Huysegems seems likely to
drop to the bench to make room for Boyd, and Jeremy Brockie
returns from a hamstring complaint that kept him out of last
weekend's match against Adelaide.
Midfielder Dani Sanchez took a limited part in training today
due to a toe niggle but is expected to play tomorrow and
Andrew Durante is fit to play after he missed the second half
of the defeat to Adelaide after his calf tightened up at
Fenton's starting debut was marked by a memorable goal
against Sydney FC in round one and Boyd had visions of
emulating the 19-year-old from Tawa.
"He scored a brilliant goal and had a great game in his first
outing, so if I get the start I'd love to do the same thing."
Herbert said tomorrow's game was a good yardstick to see how
far Boyd had come.
"I think he's been very good so it's a big test for him
against the best side in the league at the moment but I think
it's a great opportunity for him and certainly a benchmark of
where he is at," Herbert said.
"I think it's a little different being in the starting XI
than coming on [from the bench] so a different kind of
pressure for him."
Herbert said the club were trying to move on from last
weekend's defeat and alleged racism directed at Ifill. A goal
from Boyd might help.