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Wanderers warn of rising Phoenix

AAP logoAAP 15/12/2016

Wellington Phoenix's revival may prove a false dawn but Western Sydney defender Scott Neville is treating them as if they've risen from the Ashes of a poor start to the A-League season.

The Phoenix displayed new-found resolve in their 3-0 A-League drubbing of struggling Central Coast last week, just days after veteran coach Ernie Merrick fell on his sword.

As is so often the case when a manager is moved on, it lit a fire underneath the playing squad.

By any measure, the ninth-placed Mariners are not a yardstick of the competition and it remains to be seen if the Kiwi outfit can find sustained success under interim co-coaches Chris Greenacre and Des Buckingham.

"I think you saw with Central Coast earlier in the season with their new coach Paul Okon and Newcastle with Mark Jones, they were very lively early on," Neville said ahead of the Wanderers' clash with the Phoenix in Auckland on Saturday.

"Every player feels like it's a new challenge for them and they feel like they can get as many games as possible under the new regime."

Both sides go into the match precariously placed on the table and believing their spot on the ladder doesn't do them justice.

The Wanderers are in sixth with just two wins for the year, but three points in the New Zealand capital could firm up their finals aspirations

Victory for the Phoenix could see them leapfrog Tony Popovic's side from eighth spot.

Most pressing for the Wanderers is their profligacy in front of goal of late.

In four of their last fives matches they have been held to one goal or less and twice gone 90 minutes without scoring.

Their 4-1 trouncing of the Mariners a fortnight ago was a polished display but Neville said it had otherwise been a frustrating period.

"We're creating so many chances week in and week out and against the Mariners we managed to put those chances away," Neville said.

"And last week (in their 3-0 loss to Melbourne Victory) we weren't quite so successful. And we were sloppy in defence and we need to rectify both areas."

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