Mark Rudan to leave Wellington Phoenix at the end of the A-League season

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The tactician has decided to return to Australia after a successful year over the Tasman

Mark Rudan has announced he will leave his role as Wellington Phoenix coach at the end of the A-League season following a successful campaign at the helm.

Reports have been swirling for a number of weeks that the 43-year-old would not be seeing out his two-year contract with the Phoenix - amid rumours he will join new A-League franchise Western United next season.

The Phoenix will be guided by Rudan to their first finals appearance since 2014-15 and are still a chance to finish in the top four, currently sitting one point behind fourth-placed Adelaide with two regular season matches to play.

Rudan explained the decision to depart was one of the hardest he has had to make, but that his family will always come first before football.

"This has been one of the most difficult decisions I’ve had to make in my career. I came here wanting a project I could sink my teeth into and really make a difference to our sport," Rudan said

"I’ve said it before, this football club is special. There are wonderful people here that make this club what it is. The people of Wellington and New Zealand have truly embraced me. I thank all the supporters, corporate partners and the entire football club on having such great belief in me.

"But as I’ve made mention previously, family is up most of importance to me. I am a husband and a father first and a football coach second.

"The past few weeks I have worked closely with the club trying to find a solution but ultimately it was something that could not be resolved."

After winning three consecutive games and scoring 15 goals, Wellington have lost their last two matches to Adelaide United and Brisbane Roar.

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Rudan explained the timing of his decision was to end speculation on his future and allow the club to focus on post-season.

"The reasoning behind making the announcement now is to put a stop to all the speculation out there and to completely focus on finals football," he said.

"My team, coaching staff along with the entire football club are 100% committed on making the finals. We want to bring back finals football to Wellington."

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