Thursday, January 31, 2013
Phoenix want to put heat on Perth defence
By Robert Lowe
The Wellington Phoenix will look to put the heat on Perth's new-look defence when the A-League's bottom two sides square off in Auckland on Saturday.Dutchman Bas van den Brink's surprise departure from the Glory for India's I-League has opened the way for youngster Jack Clisby to seal a regular berth.The 20-year-old made his debut in the 1-0 home defeat to Brisbane last weekend, when van den Brink was sidelined by injury, and impressed coach Ian Ferguson.Phoenix striker Jeremy Brockie says he didn't catch that match and doesn't know a lot about Clisby, but is sure he will be fully motivated to do well at Eden Park."When a young guy comes in, they always want to take their opportunity," he said."But players like myself, or whoever plays in that attacking third, have got to put a lot of pressure on him to let him know that he's mixing it with the big boys now."The Phoenix remain last in the competition after ending a four-match losing streak with a 1-1 draw against Newcastle last weekend.Perth, grand finalists last season, are likewise mired in a run of poor results which has left them only two points better.The Glory also have the lowest goals-for tally in the league, with just 18 from 18 games, while the Phoenix have been marginally more prolific with 21.Brockie cited both teams' inability to convert more of their chances as a major reason for their predicament.The All White sits third on the individual goal-scoring list with 10, but the last of those came on New Year's Day in a 2-1 defeat in Brisbane."Their problem, along with ours, has been scoring goals on a regular basis," he said."It's a good opportunity for the likes of myself and others in the team to put a couple in the back of the net to release a little bit of pressure at our defensive end."Perth will again be without skipper Jacob Burns and All Whites striker Shane Smeltz through injury, while the Phoenix have Tony Lochhead on suspension after the defender picked up two yellow cards against the Jets.With just four points separating them from the top six and nine rounds to go, the Phoenix believe they are still in with a good chance of making the play-offs for a fourth successive season."We know we need to bring the confidence back and build a race to the finals," Brockie said."Hopefully, we can start that run tomorrow."