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A-League 2010/2011 Finals Series - Wellington Pheonix FC preview

Thursday, February 17, 2011

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Perhaps the luckiest of the final six, the Wellington Phoenix FC had to wait until their final game against the luckless North Queensland Fury FC to book their place in the finals series. In what has been a very indifferent season for the boys from across the Tasman, the Phoenix will be out to prove that they aren’t just there to make up the numbers. A strong preseason (six wins from seven games) had all signs pointing to a tremendous season, but football can be a funny thing sometimes. Only mustering 12 wins from a possible 30, the Phoenix will have it all to do when the take on a rampant Adelaide United FC.

The key behind the Phoenix progressing lies in the hands of four people: New Zealand international Tim Brown, youngster Marcos Rojas, a fit and fighting Paul Ifill and the heroics of former Olyroos keeper Danny Vukovic. Tim Brown has been absolutely resolute in the midfield, setting up crucial goals as well as scoring them in times when the Pheonix really need it. Firebrand Marcos Rojas has been a real revelation for the Phoenix, as his skill, pace, accuracy and finesse has really helped set up goals for the Phoenix as his blistering pace has been hard to contain. Ifill finished joint top goal scorer for the club on seven, despite being out since January but there is speculation that he may return to give Wellington some much needed fire power alongside Englishman Chris Greenacre. Brought in as injury cover for regular Mark Paston, the Perth Glory FC bound Danny Vukovic has been absolutely crucial for the boys across the ditch, pulling off some crucial saves, firing up and organising his defence and even scoring a penalty (albeit in the final minute of the final game of the season regular for Wellington).

For all their determination and spirit, it seems that Ricki Herbert’s men will find it very hard to get past a raging and very fired up Adeliade United, with the defence having trouble containing the three pronged attack of Sergio van Dijke, Argentine Marcos Flores and Matthew Leckie. But football is a funny game and weirder things have certainly happened.

By Marcel Abboud

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