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Krishna ignores depleted Phoenix stocks

AAP logoAAP 8/11/2016 Daniel Gilhooly

Just as the Wellington Phoenix hit their straps they're hammered again by the international window, but Roy Krishna is barely batting an eyelid.

Five players won't make the flight to Canberra for Saturday's A-League game against Central Coast because they're on All Whites duty on the same day, in a World Cup qualifying fixture against New Caledonia.

It mirrors the opening round of the season when international duty depleted their stokes in a 1-0 loss to Melbourne City.

Krishna says while a Phoenix side missing captain Andrew Durante, fellow-defender Louis Fenton, goalkeeper Glen Moss and front men Michael McGlinchey and Kosta Barbarouses is weakened, they have enough depth to pursue victory in Canberra rather than settle for a draw.

Hamish Watson, built in more of a traditional centre forward mould than the electric Barbarouses, is likely to start alongside Krishna up front.

Krishna believes Watson can blend effectively into a pattern which rewarded the Fijian with the game's two goals against Newcastle on Saturday - their first win of the season.

"Hamish is a different type of player. He's more strong and he's not as quick as Kosta but he's getting there," Krishna said.

"It's going to be different but he knows the job that (coach) Ernie Merrick wants him to do.

"The changes are part of football, you're going to lose players and someone has to step up."

Krishna, who has scored the club's only three goals this year, admits the player loss is untimely.

He believes their pressing game finally began to work against Newcastle after four weeks of trying.

"We just clicked pretty much. Everyone knows their role, when to go, when not to go," he said.

"The front four and even the back line really moved up and squeezed together. We knew in the first two balls that we pressed and they (Newcastle) kind of panicked. That was the game plan and it worked pretty well."

Krishna is looking forward to linking again with Barbarouses, who laid on both goals with his speed and vision.

"Kosta is unbelievable when he is on his game. You just have to be in the right place at the right time."

The 29-year-old admits he will also have half an eye on the New Zealand-New Caledonia clash.

Both teams are in Fiji's three-team Oceania qualifying group. He's likely to face the All Whites in home and away fixtures in March.

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