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Krishna rises to Phoenix challenge

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 30/09/2016 Cathy Walshe
Roy Krishna © Andrew Aylett /Corbis via Getty Images Roy Krishna

Life at the Wellington Phoenix has simultaneously become a lot easier and a great deal more challenging for striker Roy Krishna.

The easy part comes courtesy of Wellington's slew of off-season signings which bolstered the midfield, most notably with the acquisition of master distributor Gui Finkler.

The 31-year-old Brazilian, who scored 19 goals in four seasons with the Melbourne Victory, has slotted into an attacking midfield role at the Phoenix with a smoothness that has Krishna very happy.

"It's been incredible with the pace up front and with Gui's passing through - we just need to be in the right place at the right time," he told NZ Newswire.

Finkler's Victory teammate Kosta Barbarouses has added extra firepower in also making the move to Wellington, alongside Phoenix regulars Hamish Watson, Michael McGlinchey and Roly Bonevacia.

And therein lies the challenge for Krishna, as the 29-year-old Fijian looks to command a position in coach Ernie Merrick's starting line-up.

"We've made some great signings, and that kind of pushes me more - in training you can see everyone is fighting for their spots and that's a postive sign for the team in the future," Krishna said.

"We've got a lot of strikers now, the midfield is incredible and we've got Marco Rossi at the back. We've got great depth."

Krishna scored six goals for the Phoenix last year in a season truncated by a season-ending ankle injury in late December, and has rediscovered his form in netting three times in Wellington's pre-season.

He also captained Fiji at the Rio Games, scoring the island nation's first-ever Olympic goal in their 5-1 loss to Mexico

Krishna says he learned a lot in Rio, and is hoping to carry some of the lessons learned there into the Phoenix's A-League season which begins on October 8 against Melbourne City.

"To see how they play, the way they talk on the field, and just the pace of it - it was something huge for me to learn from.

"Hopefully I can show that on the pitch with my Wellington boys."

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