Good news on Wellington Phoenix injury front

DUNCAN JOHNSTONE
Last updated 13:40 21/07/2014
stuff.co.nz

West Ham train at North Harbour stadium.

Roy Krishna
Getty Images
ROY KRISHNA: The Wellington Phoenix striker is looking likely to be fit to take on West Ham in Auckland on Wednesday night.

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The Wellington Phoenix are hopeful of having striker Roy Krishna and Spannish midfield signing Alejandro Gorrin available to play West Ham after encouraging signs at training in Auckland today.

Both looked full of energy as the Phoenix had a lively session at North Harbour Stadium with West Ham following them on to the practice pitch later in the day.

The two teams meet at Eden Park on Wednesday night.

It's unlikely midfielder Vince Lia will be involved. He is recuperating leg injuries and spent most of the session sidelined with ice packs on a calf and knee.

And it's still unsure if Michael McGlinchey will be cleared in time to play as the Phoenix and Central Coast Mariners remained tangled over his transfer.

Phoenix coach Ernie Merrick was full of enthusiasm today, like his players reveling in the opportunity to take on English Premier league opposition.

''We've had some good news injury-wise,'' Merrick said.

''Roy Krishna and our Sunderland signing Alejandro Gorrin were carrying injuries. But they have both come good today. We left Krishna to the last minute to bring him into the session to make sure he was 100 per cent and he was scoring goals left right and centre.''

Merrick said he was keen to give his full squad a run against West Ham and Newcastle in this preseason tournament that also features Sydney FC.

''But it's important they earn a place, they know that standards are high.''

The coach wouldn't bite on reports that the Phoenix could seek an injunction to free McClinchey for this crucial series.

''I've read all those reports as well. I don't know what will happen. It's a preseason game. I don't know the West Ham or our starting XI, hopefully we can get some good teams out and some good back up players against some class opposition,'' he said.

''This is a great opportunity. It's very exciting, some of these boys are just jumping out of their skins.''

Merrick said it was more about performance than results and the Phoenix were determined to front with some ''good, attacking football.''

The games, under huge pressure, will help Merrick finalise some of his thinking for the A-League season. He is close to completing his full squad but is still desperate to pick up a quality defensive player. He is looking locally and overseas.

''That's on our priority list at the moment. We have some good school of excellence boys who have been with us. We will look at them also but the idea would be to have a very good quality defensive type player that could play a range of positions in the backline and maybe even a defensive midfield,'' Merrick said.

''I think our recruiting this year has been first class. It would be good to get McClinchey over the line.''

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