Hogg Appreciates Step Up In Standard

It was at times a painful experience, especially in the last 20 minutes when he was cramping up, but Ian Hogg loved every minute of his Hyundai A-League debut for the Wellington Phoenix in Saturday’s 1-0 win over Perth Glory in Auckland.

It was at times a painful experience, especially in the last 20 minutes when he was cramping up, but Ian Hogg loved every minute of his Hyundai A-League debut for the Wellington Phoenix in Saturday-s 1-0 win over Perth Glory in Auckland.

Now he wants to show he can produce the same sort of form week in, week out and earn himself a contract for next season.

He gets the opportunity to further his cause against competition leaders Central Coast Mariners in Gosford on Thursday, but is under no illusions he has to be at his best.

“The Perth game was good to debut in, especially with it being in Auckland, but it was tough” Hogg said.

“The speed and how quickly you are closed down was so different to what I am used to.

“The movement off the ball was so quick you had to really concentrate for the whole 90 minutes.

“Compared to the ASB Premiership it was a massive step up and you have to be on your toes every second.

“It was nice to get a win, and keeping a clean sheet was a real bonus. Hopefully we can take it a step further and beat the Mariners on Thursday.”

After finishing university, and playing for New Zealand at the Olympic Games, Hogg set his heart on becoming a professional footballer.

He ended up in the United States with MLS club Portland Timbers, where he encountered visa problems and only played in the reserves.

“When the call came from the Phoenix I didn-t need asking twice and I will be forever grateful to Ricki (Herbert) for the chance to show what I can do,” he said.

“Hopefully I can kick on and get a full-time contract while helping the team win games.”

Phoenix captain Andrew Durante is also hoping the Phoenix can kick on and build on breaking their winless streak.

“Last week was a good stepping stone,” Durante said after the team-s training session in Sydney.

“I thought we were back to the Phoenix of old and what this club is all about.

“We have always been about hard work, determination and not letting team-mates down, and we did that in spades against Perth.

“We can-t rest on that though and have to take the positives and energy from that game into this one.

“I think we match up well against them. They are a physical team and we have to match them in that area.”