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Phoenix must kick on: Buckingham

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 7/03/2017

Des Buckingham © Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images Des Buckingham Three weeks after stumbling to their worst loss of the A-League season, Wellington Phoenix are stuttering back into life.

Co-coach Des Buckingham says last week's 3-3 draw with an in-form Perth Glory backed up Wellington's 2-1 upset win over Brisbane Roar seven days earlier.

The turnaround from the previous week's 5-1 thumping by Melbourne City is impressive, but Buckingham is well aware there's still plenty more work to do.

Wellington sit seventh on the ladder, two points astray of the cut-off for play-offs, and with five games remaining.

The Phoenix have a 10-day wait before their next game, a crucial encounter away to sixth-placed Western Sydney Wanderers.

"We've now gone two games against two in-form teams in Brisbane and Perth who've both occupied that top three spot, and we've come away with four points," Buckingham said.

"There's life back in us."

He says Wellington will use the longer-than-usual break between matches wisely, making the most of the extra time to bring back central defender Marco Rossi and midfielder Michael McGlinchey from injury.

Right back Jacob Tratt will also return from suspension, and playmaker Gui Finkler will be allowed more time to regain full fitness after a two-week break in Brazil to meet his new baby daughter.

Finkler played 65 minutes against Perth last week in Auckland, opening the scoring after 10 minutes for his third goal of the season.

Buckingham says the Phoenix have to be careful not to look too far ahead.

"It's important we focus what's in front of us, and what's staring us in the face is the Wanderers game," he said.

"It's important for two reasons: it's important to show we can sustain some momentum in terms of performance and results, and it allows us to get into a position where it's our's to hold on to.

"We're confident we've got the players and momentum to finish the season well."

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