Wellington Phoenix coach Chris Greenacre is bracing his men for another gritty encounter against Perth Glory, with the hosts still targeting a finals place
|By EMMA STONEY
Matches between Perth Glory and Wellington Phoenix have been decided by solitary goals in the past couple of years, and Phoenix interim head coach Chris Greenacre does not see that changing in Sunday's match at nib Stadium.
The last time the margin of victory for either side was greater than one goal was at the end of the 2010-11 A-League season when the Phoenix thrashed the western Australians 4-0 at Westpac Stadium.
But that result has been an exception to the rule, with matches between the two sides generally physical, battling encounters.
This season, there has been a 1-1 draw in Perth and a 1-0 win to Wellington in Auckland.
"I think it's going to be exactly the same as it always has been," said Greenacre.
"They've still got a chance of the playoffs. They are really battling and scrapping to stay in that run. I fully expect a typical Perth Glory performance."
While the Phoenix play-off chances have gone, Glory remain in the hunt thanks to recent wins against Central Coast Mariners, Sydney FC and Newcastle Jets – all under interim head coach Alistair Edwards.
"They'll be full of confidence but we've also had a couple of good performances," said Greenacre, whose side lost to Western Sydney Wanderers after downing Melbourne Heart 1-0 earlier in March.
"I think both teams will be brimming with confidence and going all-out to win the game.
"They are usually tough, tightly-contested games with probably not many goals in it. I don't expect this one to be any different."
The Phoenix lost to the Wanderers on the back of penalties conceded by Tony Lochhead and Vince Lia.
But as they have since Greenacre took over from Ricki Herbert at the end of February, the Phoenix showed much more on attack getting plenty of balls into the box, although finishing remains a problem.
"Hopefully we can capitalise on those chances that we are creating because we've created a hell of a lot of chances in the last few games. It would be nice to put those away."
Despite the improvement under Greenacre, the Englishman has ruled himself out of making a play for the full-time role.
Striker Stein Huysegems and left-back Ian Hogg have joined the squad in Perth, while Louis Fenton and Tyler Boyd have linked up with the New Zealand Under 20s.