Football: Boyd hoping to score one for grandad

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 Philippines.

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 halftime.

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.


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