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Herbert talks up best Phoenix yet

Friday, 28 December 2012 9:54 AM
 

Herbert talks up best Phoenix yet

Ricki Herbert believes the 2012 edition Wellington Phoenix is playing the highest quality football in the club's history.

Foundation coach Herbert has steered the Phoenix from its 2007/08 competition debut to finals appearances in the last three seasons.

The Kiwi national team coach expressed his belief that the current team - spearheaded by their leading scorer Jeremy Brockie - is the best yet.

Brockie scored twice - his eighth and ninth goals in Phoenix colours - as the New Zealanders completed a 3-2 comeback win over Melbourne Heart.

And Herbert believes the supporting cast is up there with the best he has mentored.

"I think we've taken another giant step tonight," he said.

"I think in periods tonight, long periods, that's probably the best we've played since the start of the club.

"There's good confidence in the side, we're playing with really good pace. Players will struggle to go the 90 minutes but we've set that stall out pretty strongly and I don't think Melbourne could deal with it tonight."

The Phoenix make a step up next time out as they open 2013 with a trip to the reigning champion Brisbane Roar's Suncorp Stadium.

"We come up against a Brisbane side that look like they've got things back in order and they're playing very well and it's tough at Suncorp," he said.

Herbert named an unchanged team to face Melbourne, but will make changes to the match-day squad, if not the starting XI, for the Queensland road trip.

Leo Bertos left the game early with a hamstring problem, but should travel. Utility player Cameron Lindsay will pad out a 16-man squad.

New Zealand international Glen Moss, out for six weeks with a stomach muscle injury, remains at least another month from challenging club and country colleague Mark Paston for the goalkeeping spot.

Ex-Roar custodian Griffin McMaster will remain with the Phoenix as cover.

Herbert also insisted Belgian striker Steyn Huysegems remains a key player, despite failing to appear against the Heart.

The former international has not started the last two games as the Phoenix have flanked leading scorer Brockie with teenagers Tyler Boyd and Louis Fenton.

But Herbert insisted: "He's a strong part of what we're doing. He's been on the score sheet three times and I'm sure he'll be there again."

 
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