Football: Auckland City ready for Phoenix A challenge

Coach Ramon Tribulietx says Auckland City's showdown with Wellington Phoenix A tomorrow night makes up for his team's lack of competitive activity in their pre-season.

Auckland City leaves for the Fifa club World Cup in three weeks where they face a warm-up match with a J-League 2 club before taking on the yet-to-be-decided J-League winners in Yokohama on December 6.

A difficult pre-season that saw matches against the Northern League All Stars postponed, coupled with a lopsided 15-0 win over the All Refugees XI in Henderson, has left Auckland short of a gallop.

"The Phoenix game is an opportunity to keep competing. Our pre-season in terms of the number of games we played has not been very good and the Wellington Phoenix game comes in at the right time," Tribulietx said.

"We still need to keep working on some of the tactical adjustments that we are applying this year and it will be a very good frame to keep working on that."

Auckland's season got off on a sour note, losing 2-1 and their ASB Charity Cup title to rivals Waitakere United, but they bounced back in some style beating Canterbury United 5-2 in the national league on Saturday.

Tribulietx said: "The mood has always been very good in our camp and we have just started the ASB Premiership and everyone is willing to participate and the new players and staff are fitting in well with the group."

Tribulietx has an injury free squad to pick from, an important element in a week where the team plays three games.

"We will probably use everyone in this game, we have two balanced elevens, we have a lot of very competent players in the squad and most people will take part in it," he said.

The composition of the Wellington Phoenix side is unknown at this stage with Ricki Herbert's first team having lost 3-2 to the Melbourne Victory last night. (mon)

Auckland City last played the Wellington Phoenix A side in January last year, with the match ending in a 1-1 draw.

Action kicks off at Kiwitea Street at 5.30pm.

Auckland City (from): Jacob Spoonley (GK), Simon Arms, Takuya Iwata, Riki van Steeden, Angel Luis Vina Berlanga, Jason Hicks, James Pritchett, Chris Bale, Manel Exposito, Luis Corrales, Daniel Koprivcic, Tamati Williams (GK), Alex Feneridis, Adam Dickinson, Ivan Vicelich (c), Albert Riera Vidal, Pedro Garcia, Liam Anderson (GK), Emiliano Tade, David Browne, Andrew Milne.


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