Football 2 years ago

Phoenix not going anywhere: Merrick

  • Phoenix not going anywhere: Merrick

Hell hath no fury like Ernie Merrick scorned.

While Wellington's future in the A-League might be uncertain, nothing could be more certain than Merrick using this week's Phoenix controversy to his advantage.

When it comes to forging a siege mentality in his teams there are none better - which is bad news for the table-topping Brisbane Roar, who take on Wellington at Westpac Stadium on Saturday.

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A report earlier this week suggested the Phoenix could be turfed out of the competition as early as next year to make way for another Australian side, which would better contribute to the A-League in terms of crowds, TV ratings and Australian player development.

"You lot are persistent," a smirking Merrick told reporters in Wellington on Friday, as the questions about the club's future kept on coming.

"Keep asking the questions, it doesn't bother me at all.

"I'm not going to change my focus, (which is) on being at this club for the next three years. That's my contract.

"The players are contracted, some (have been) recontracted, and we're aiming to do well and finish in the finals this year.

"Nothing will detract from that."

If anything, it would have galvanised a side that's already made a reasonable start to the new season, having last week come from behind to beat Perth Glory 2-1 at nib Stadium.

Saturday's clash looms as the biggest test yet for both the Phoenix and the Roar, who have made a stunning start to life under new coach John Aloisi.

Despite losing goalkeeper Michael Theo (quad) for the trip across the Tasman, confidence is high for Brisbane - as it should be, given the club's 50 per cent winning record at the Cake Tin.

"We know what to expect from them," Aloisi said.

"They're a team that will come flying out and put you under immense pressure but we know what they can do.

"They've got some really good players especially in midfield with (Roly) Bonevacia and (Michael) McGlinchey, and up front (Roy) Krishna's proved to be a handful.

"We know where their strengths are and we need to make sure we stop them."

STATS THAT MATTER

* Brisbane Roar have a made a league high 49 tackles in the first two match days so far.

* In contrast, Wellington have made a league low of just 23.

* The Roar have only failed to score in two of their 11 previous away meetings with Wellington.

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