Hectic Pre-season Schedule For Phoenix

The Wellington Phoenix will play five games in 14 days when they visit Australia and tour India next month.

The Wellington Phoenix will play five games in 14 days when they visit Australia and tour India next month.

In a ground-breaking visit to the sub-continent, the Phoenix will take part in a four team tournament after opening the trip with a match against fellow Hyundai A-League club Newcastle Jets in Weston, New South Wales on August 18.

The Phoenix party will fly from Sydney to New Delhi the day after the Jets game, and kick off the tournament against United Sikkim in Guwahati on August 24.

They will play a yet to be confirmed I-League team on August 26 in Impahl before meeting Shillong Lajong at Shillong-s Nehru Stadium on August 30.

The tournament final or third-fourth playoff will complete the visit on September 1, again in Shillong.

It is a daunting schedule with three internal flights and two three-hour bus journeys, but head coach Ricki Herbert is delighted the tour has been scheduled.

“We have struggled for meaningful pre-season games at times in the past and this will give our players a real workout,” Herbert said.

“Some of the boys from our School of Excellence will be on the trip and it will be a great experience for them, as well as giving the coaching staff an opportunity to assess their progress against good teams in a challenging environment.

“With two under-21 spots still to be filled it also gives them a chance to put their hand up for a playing contract.

“Also it will provide an opportunity for the new players and staff to bond.”

The Phoenix will complete their pre-season programme against A-League newcomers Western Sydney Wanderers Christchurch-s AMI Stadium on September 23.

The A-League season opens for the Phoenix on October 6 at Wellington-s Westpac Stadium against Sydney FC.