You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Phoenix to appoint coach by Christmas

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 5/12/2016 Cathy Walshe

Wellington Phoenix are looking to name a new coach before Christmas, club chairman Rob Morrison says.

Wellington's coach of three years, Ernie Merrick, resigned on Monday following the Phoenix's loss to Adelaide United, their sixth of the season from eight games.

Morrison told media on Tuesday that a shortlist has been drawn up and the bottom-placed club will make a decision within the next three weeks.

"When we hired Ernie, we had the luxury of an off-season, so we actually had time to make that decision," he said.

"We don't have that luxury now. I think the view is we'll make a decision pretty quickly."

Morrison said Merrick's resignation didn't change Wellington's ambitions for the season.

"We know we've got a good squad, we know there's still a long way to go and we still want to make the play-offs."

Merrick replaced Ricki Herbert at the Phoenix in May 2013 after the former All Whites coach resigned with five matches of the 2012 season remaining.

Assistant coach Chris Greenacre, a former Phoenix striker, took over in Herbert's absence and will fulfil a similar role with goalkeeping coach Des Buckingham until a new appointment is made.

The Phoenix play Central Coast Mariners in Hamilton on Saturday, and Western Sydney Wanderers a week later in Auckland.

"Des and Greenie are taking charge for next week, and probably the week after that," Morrison said.

"We want to see how they go as well, that's obviously part of the equation, but in the end it will be a quick decision."

Greenacre deflected questions about his own ambitions for the head coach's job.

"I've got no interest in anything other than what's in front of us this weekend - all our efforts now go towards Central Coast Mariners and we can't look beyond that," he said.

"There's a blueprint now, we're used to playing an attacking brand of football, and there'll be a big emphasis on attack."

Morrison said Scotland-born Merrick, who led Melbourne Victory to A-League titles in 2007 and 2009, had done a huge amount of work for football in New Zealand.

"At the club, we've got nothing but appreciation for what Ernie has done, and for the work he's put in.

"He is a loss for the club, and he's a loss for New Zealand Football as well, in terms of the programmes we put in and the high performance pathway that New Zealand Football has always lacked."

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon