Wellington Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert insists Belgian import
Stein Huysegems remains part of the club's plans, despite him
being an unused substitute against the Melbourne Heart last
Herbert has used a front three of Jeremy Brockie, Tyler Boyd
and Louis Fenton in the last two games, leaving Huysegems -
one of the side's highest-paid players - sitting on the
The former Belgian international, who signed a two-year
contract with the club in September, played only 13 minutes
in the Phoenix's 1-1 draw with the Mariners last Saturday
and, although he warmed up last night, didn't enter the fray
as the Wellingtonians dispatched the Heart 3-2.
Huysegems enjoyed a great start to his Phoenix career with
three goals in the opening four games of the season but his
involvement has been staggered since and he has struggled to
make an impact in his last five outings.
The 30-year-old is perhaps the side's most decorated and
experienced player given his top-flight stints in Belgium and
the Netherlands and Herbert said it was a coup to get him
when he signed with the club.
Last night Herbert was forced to pull Leo Bertos due to a
tight hamstring and Vince Lia was spelled as he continues to
work towards peak fitness, but the coach didn't use his third
substitution and left Huysegems on ice.
"If it hadn't been quite the wave that was coming in the
second half, I think Stein would've come on . It was a
difficult one, too," Herbert said.
"Looking at the substitutions, we thought Vinnie would give
us 70-75, that's where he's at. Leo, it was just a shame I
had to make that change. So that kind of forced our arm a
little bit more. I think some players needed to get the full
90, knuckle it out and keep that pressure coming. But no,
[Huysegems] is a strong part of what we are doing. He's been
on the scoresheet three times [this season] and I'm sure
he'll be on there again."
The Phoenix's next A-League encounter comes against the Roar
in Brisbane on New Year's Day and, with such a short
turnaround, the players are expected to be given time to rest
during the next few days rather than be flogged on the
After impressing in his last two appearances from the bench,
Herbert said Solomon Islands international Benjamin Totori
could start in Brisbane, while a long-awaited debut may be in
store of another one of the club's young tyros.
"I thought Benji was good tonight and he's maybe a shot to
start and he basically destroyed the [Heart] left-back,
didn't he? So he's a good option if we need to rotate anybody
at the top but the other player I'll be travelling is Cameron
Lindsay, who operates predominantly as a midfielder, has
almost become the forgotten man of the club after he signed a
youth contract last summer.
The 20-year-old didn't play a game last season and was set to
make his maiden A-League appearance when the Phoenix were
forced to play a depleted line-up in round two against the
Heart due to international commitments but Lindsay was forced
out due to illness.
Bertos is expected to be fit for the game against the Roar
but injured goalkeeper Glen Moss is likely to be another
three to four weeks away as he recovers from a hernia