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Phoenix-Victory match still in doubt

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 14/11/2016 Daniel Gilhooly

<span style="font-size:13px;">The Phoenix are still in the dark over whether Saturday's A-League match against Melbourne Victory will go ahead in quake-hit Wellington.</span> © Getty Images The Phoenix are still in the dark over whether Saturday's A-League match against Melbourne Victory will go ahead in quake-hit Wellington. Wellington Phoenix coach Ernie Merrick admits a postponement would serve his team well if Westpac Stadium is deemed unsafe to host the A-League match against Melbourne Victory.

Phoenix officials were still awaiting an announcement from stadium officials on Tuesday as engineering assessment was carried out in the wake of Monday's 7.5 magnitude earthquake.

Merrick was in the dark about progress but said he was ready to negotiate a different date with Football Federation Australia and Victory if Saturday's seventh-round game is postponed.

It is unlikely any other venue in Wellington could be used for the game at short notice.

"To be perfectly honest, a break would be good for us," Merrick said.

"We've had a fairly hectic travelling schedule, so if we have to have a break this weekend and the game is postponed maybe to be a midweek game in January, that would really suit us, but I don't want to jump the gun."

Another difficulty this week for Merrick is limited access to his All Whites players who are involved in a World Cup qualifying match against New Caledonia in Kone on Tuesday evening.

Midfielder Michael McGlinchey is also in doubt with a knee injury which ruled him out of both the home and away legs against New Caledonia.

The Phoenix are coming off wins over Newcastle and Central Coast after losing their first four games.

While morale was soaring, it was difficult to enjoy this week following the quake and subsequent aftershocks which have shaken the capital, along with other areas in New Zealand.

New players such as Italian defender Marco Rossi and his fiancee have been particularly rattled, Merrick said.

"This disaster has affected and shaken all of us," Merrick said.

"Sometimes it is very tough for wives and families but the club has made sure that everyone is right."

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