There’s no place like home.
Surely that has to be a sentiment floating around the Wellington Phoenix camp this week having arrived back in Wellington following two road losses.
Prior to the Asian Cup break the Nix were arguably the form team of the competition and one has to wonder how much effect the lengthy break had on the team as they slumped to losses against the Roar in Brisbane and the Wanderers in Penrith. The loss to the Wanderers coming with added embarrassment as it earned the Nix the title of first team to lose to WSW this season.
Having said all that, it’s fair to say the lads will be happy to be playing in front of a home crowd this week even though it’s away from the traditional Westpac Stadium fortress. Due to Wellington playing host to multiple matches in the ICC Cricket World Cup the Nix have been forced to take their next three home games 14 kilometres up the road to the Hutt Recreation Reserve. The Lower Hutt ground has installed temporary stands which will take the capacity up to around 9,000 which should create a terrific atmosphere.
The first team to experience the Hutt atmosphere will be Melbourne City. The newly rebranded Melbourne team currently sit sixth on the A-League ladder and will enter the match on the back of a 3-0 loss in last weekend’s Melbourne derby against the Victory. The Nix won’t mind playing host to Melbourne City as last time the two faced off in Wellington it resulted in a 5-1 win for the Nix, their biggest win of the season so far.
I’m expecting the Nix to get their campaign back on track this week with a victory over the visiting Melbourne side.
In other news Ernie Merrick has signed young Wanderers player Kwabena Appiah on a deal through to the end of next season. The 22 year old, who was born in New Zealand, played a large part in the Wanderers Asian Champions League victory playing in all matches apart from the first leg of the final. The signing of Appiah will increase the Phoenix attacking options following the departure of Jeremy Brockie last month.Google+