Double incentive for Phoenix's Daniel

January 9, 2008

Midfielder Daniel has twice the incentive to turn in a top-shelf performance when the Wellington Phoenix take on Melbourne Victory in an A-League soccer match in Melbourne on Friday.

A key player, Daniel returns to action after sitting out a two-match ban for collecting seven yellow cards in the season.

He's also got a promise to keep to wife.

The enforced break came at a handy time for the skilful Brazilian, allowing him to return home to Rio de Janeiro to be at wife Danielle's side for the birth of their first child, a son the couple named Daniel.

"I'm very happy, very excited to be back," Daniel said.

"The game against Melbourne will be very hard because they have excellent players.

"Coach Ricki Herbert has us ready and I'm really excited because after missing two matches I really want to play."

In Daniel's absence, Wellington grabbed a 3-2 away win against Newcastle before Sydney FC beat them 2-0 last weekend to extinguish their hopes of making the playoffs in their first season.

Friday night's match was a chance to make amends for his suspension, Daniel said.

With Tony Lochhead suspended for the Victory match, the onus will be on Daniel to cut the Victory defence open down the left flank and create scoring chances.

"It's my job to assist my friends, the strikers - I must help the team to score.

"And I promised my wife that I would score a goal for my son, little Daniel.

"Maybe I do, maybe I don't, but that's no problem if I help someone else to score and we win."