One At A Time For Phoenix

With one home game to play, against North Queensland Fury, many are looking at that as the one the Phoenix must win to make the playoffs, but coach Ricki Herbert says he hasn’t looked that far ahead.

With one home game to play, against North Queensland Fury, many are looking at that as the one the Phoenix must win to make the playoffs, but coach Ricki Herbert says he hasn-t looked that far ahead.

“For a number of weeks I haven-t looked any further ahead than the game at hand, and I-m not changing now.

“We are going into two tough games at venues (Adelaide and Sydney) where we haven-t been very successful, if at all, and the first game, against Adelaide, has my full attention.”

The Phoenix cause hasn-t been helped by the two-match suspensions incurred by Ben Sigmund and Manny Muscat receiving yellow cards in Sunday-s 1-0 win over Newcastle Jets at Westpac Stadium.

Rather than dwell on the negatives, Herbert said it was fortunate that Jade North was returning from international duties with the Socceroos.

“Jade and Dura (Andrew Durante) played together in the centre of defence with Siggy at right back for a period this season so they should be fine.

“With Manny it was disappointing, as it is for any player who is unlucky, and obviously he is a loss, but when we lost Paul Ifill we pulled together and carried on scoring goals.

“”We-ve got a chance of making the finals. It is in our own hands so we have to deal with it.”

While many took the win over Newcastle Jets as a given, Herbert certainly didn-t. “I always thought that game (Jets) was going to be one of our most difficult.

“Besides what the midweek game against Brisbane, and the associated travel, took out of the players the expectation for us to win at home was massive.

“What the players put in on the Wednesday was always going to be a factor and we didn-t have players we could rest.”

The Phoenix cause hasn-t been helped by Mirjan Pavlovic suffering a hamstring strain that might prevent him making the week-long trip.

Pavlovic joins Leo Bertos, Paul Ifill, Diego and Mark Paston on an ever-increasing injury list.