Gruelling warm-up for Phoenix
Wellington Phoenix warm up for this year’s A-League with a daunting schedule of five matches in 14 days after struggling for meaningful pre-season games in the past, coach Ricki Herbert says.
The tour starts on August 18 with a match against Newcastle Jets in Weston, NSW, before the Phoenix travel to India for a four-team tournament.
Herbert says he will be taking some young players from the newly established Phoenix school of excellence, as the club looks to fill two under-21 spots on its roster still up for grabs.
“We have struggled for meaningful pre-season games at times in the past, and this will give our players a real workout,” he said.
The tournament in India begins in Guwahati on August 24 against United Sikkim, before the Phoenix meet an as-yet unconfirmed I-League team in Impahl two days later.
They play Shillong Lajong at Shillong’s Nehru Stadium on August 30 before winding up with the tournament final or third-fourth place playoff at the same venue.
The Phoenix complete their pre-season preparation against A-League newcomers Western Sydney Wanderers in Christchurch on September 23.
Their season proper begins on October 6 in Wellington against Sydney FC, whom they beat 3-2 in last year’s elimination.© AAP 2013