Phoenix name 17-man squad for FFA Cup game

SAM WORTHINGTON
Last updated 14:03 02/08/2014
Ernie Merrick
KEVIN STENT/Fairfax NZ
LOOKING FOR A WIN: Wellington Phoenix coach Ernie Merrick has named his squad for the FFA Cup.

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Wellington Phoenix coach Ernie Merrick has named a 17-man squad for the club's FFA Cup debut against Adelaide United on Tuesday.

The unavailability of A-League All-Stars Albert Riera and Manny Muscat opens up vacancies at defensive midfield and right back, with Matthew Ridenton and Michael Boxall the most obvious candidates to fill those gaps in the starting XI.

Midfielder Vince Lia (calf) remains unavailable but is expected to return to training next week.

Fullback Reece Caira was overlooked by Merrick.

New signing Roly Bonevacia is due to arrive in Wellington in about two weeks while fellow midfielder Michael McGlinchey remains on ice as the Phoenix and Central Coast Mariners await a ruling on his contractual status.

The Phoenix fly to Adelaide tomorrow to prepare to make their FFA Cup bow.

The knockout competition - styled after England's FA Cup - features all 10 A-League clubs plus a raft of lower league Australian clubs.

Despite being drawn as a Phoenix 'home' game, the clash will take place at Adelaide's Marden Sports Complex.

While allowing the Phoenix in the competition, the FFA decided that no games would take place in New Zealand in a bid to keep travel costs down.

The Phoenix hope that may change next season.

Adelaide will be without their coach, Josep Gombau, who is in camp preparing the All-Stars side for the August 10 game against Italian heavyweights Juventus at Sydney's ANZ Stadium.

Like the Phoenix, Adelaide have two players in the All-Stars side, goalkeeper Eugene Galekovic and playmaker Marcelo Carrusca.

Merrick said Louis Fenton - deployed as a right back last season - would again start in midfield against Adelaide after impressing him in the Football United Tour games against West Ham and Newcastle.

While taking the FFA Cup seriously, the Phoenix coach said he would use the game as an opportunity to test the talents of the youngsters in the squad.

Phoenix squad: Glen Moss, Lewis Italiano, Michael Boxall, Josh Brindell-South, Kenny Cunningham, Alex Rodriguez, Nathan Burns, Jeremy Brockie, Tyler Boyd, Alex Rufer, Jason Hicks, Louis Fenton, Ben Sigmund, Roy Krishna, Andrew Durante, Matthew Ridenton, Tom Doyle

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