Trialists have it all to play for

THE natural ability of three young players on trial with the Wellington Phoenix this month is not in doubt – the question is: can they step up to the next level?

THE natural ability of three young players on trial with the Wellington Phoenix this month is not in doubt - the question is: can they step up to the next level?

Young goalkeeper Reece Crowther and strikers Luis Corrales and Roy Krishna have a month to stake their claims to a spot on the Phoenix-s roster for the Hyundai A-League 2009/10 season, joining the Phoenix squad today as pre-season training kicked up a gear.

Towering 20-year-old Australian keeper Crowther trials with the Phoenix after being released by Queens Park Rangers, while Corrales and Krishna are seeking to earn Hyundai A-League contracts after impressing for Team Wellington and Waitakere United, respectively, in the New Zealand Football Championship.

Phoenix head coach Ricki Herbert said all three players clearly had plenty of talent.

“In the case of Luis and Roy in the NZFC we-re well aware of what they-ve done there. They-re players that are exciting, they can express in the front third of the pitch and they have pace.

“Can they bring it to the next level? That-s the question and that-s why they-re here. We want to give them an extended period of time to give them the best shot across the board, because the possibilities (of winning contracts) are there.”

Herbert said Crowther had been brought to Wellington to stake his claims to the starting keeper-s spot, pushing incumbent Mark Paston.

“No one is here to make up the numbers. These three players are here for a reason and that is that we believe they have something to offer the team. At the end of the day we want the right players. Hopefully it can be these three guys.

“We-ve got the option of signing none, one, two or all three. But they have to prove to us that they-re ready for the A-League.”

Gutsy defender Ben Sigmund made the successful step up to the Hyundai A-League from the NZFC and was one of the Phoenix-s best last season. Herbert said it was reasonable to expect that Krishna and Corrales could do the same.

“They-ve done a good job in the NZFC - I think they-ve grown past the NZFC. It-s whether they-ve grown enough to be part of the A-League.”