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Phoenix sign teen striker

Saturday, 22 September 2012 11:15 AM
 

Phoenix sign teen striker

Wellington Phoenix has signed Panamanian teenager Ricardo Clarke on loan as an injury replacement for Dani Sanchez.

Sanchez has been ruled out until mid-to-late November following an operation on a troublesome knee.

Clarke, 19, joined the Phoenix on Saturday morning from Panama League side Sporting San Miguelito.

The Phoenix are in Christchurch preparing for their pre-season match against Hyundai A-League newcomers Western Sydney Wanderers on Sunday.

Depending on the outcome of any fitness tests, the forward could feature in the match at AMI Stadium.

"It depends how much the long journey has taken out of him," Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert said.

"If possible I would like to give him a run but we'll wait and see how he is."

Herbert described the game against the Wanderers as his team's 'first real major test' after touring India and playing local sides in pre-season games.

"It is a great opportunity to get a benchmark as to where we are at," he said.

"West Sydney have played other A-League teams pre-season. They are new to the competition and will give us a good challenge which is what we need."

Wellington are still missing Paul Ifill, Sanchez, Jimmy Downey, Vince Lia and Lucas Pantelis with injury, while Mirjan Pavlovic won't return from his loan spell until the end of the month.

"Louis Fenton will get an opportunity to start and Stein (Huysegems) will have the chance to familiarise himself with his new team-mates in a game situation," Herbert added.

Leo Bertos will continue in his new right-back role alongside established defenders Andrew Durante, Ben Sigmund and Tony Lochhead.

Manny Muscat reverts to his holding midfield role with Alex Smith, Fenton, Benjamin Totori and Jeremy Brockie all expected to feature in the starting line-up.

"My focus is on what we've been working on for the last few months. We've elected to play a little differently so this will be a test of what we are doing."

Meanwhile, Sydney FC received a boost on the eve of the season with experienced midfielder Paul Reid signing a one-year contract.

The 33-year-old defensive midfielder, who made two appearances for the Socceroos in 2009, joins the Sky Blues after a career that started in Wollongong and took him to England, Melbourne and Thailand.

"It's definitely going to be a special time, my family are all here and it'll be great to be playing in front of them," Reid said.

"When the opportunity arose to come back and trial at Sydney FC it was too good to refuse.

"I said to my wife after the first day, they're a really great bunch of guys. It's always hard to come into a new team but it felt really comfortable the first day and they really welcomed me on board.

"It plays a big part when you go to a new club so I feel at home here and I'm really looking forward to helping the team improve on where Sydney finished last season."

 
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