Team Wellington players look very capable
Team Wellington have named an All White, seven Phoenix academy players and two imports from Denmark in a 20-man national league squad.
The Matt Calcott-coached side finished runners-up to Waitakere United last season and, on paper at least, again look capable of challenging for the title.
Midfielder Adam McGeorge has been lured to the capital from Auckland City and is seen as an ideal replacement for stalwart Michael Eagar, who will explore his footballing future in the United States.
The 23-year-old McGeorge made two appearances for the All Whites this year to go with seven games for the Oly-Whites.
Also included are Luke Rowe and Tom Biss, who made their Phoenix debuts against Melbourne Heart on Sunday, and fellow academy members Scott Basalaj, Tom Doyle, Justin Gulley, Alec Solomons and Hamish Watson.
"The football school of excellence has been great for these boys and their development, and they have come into the Team Wellington environment with plenty of energy and ambition," Calcott said.
The two Danes, who come to Wellington via Auckland, are Andreas Damgaard and Karsten Viborg.
Both have Danish second division experience, with Damgaard described as a "tough, robust centre back," and Viborg a "hardworking striker with a good eye for goal".
Other new faces are former Manawatu midfielder Cory Chettleburgh, goalkeeper Will Jones (via Colwyn Bay FC in Wales) and centre back Kyle Segebart.
Solomon Islands international Henry Fa'arodo is back, along with proven local campaigners Karl Whalen, Tim Schaeffers, Jamie Duncan, Wiremu Patrick, Jimmy Haidakis and Andrew Abba.
"Henry was excellent for us at the back end of last season and he brings plenty of experience to the table which is important in a younger squad," Calcott said.
"The senior local boys bring a heap of experience and are a very good group of footballers. They are the heart and soul of the franchise."
New Zealand Football regulations require a minimum roster of 15 senior and five academy players to be submitted by Friday.
Calcott still has five roster spots remaining but won't fill them for the sake of it.
"As a coaching group we are confident the lads in the squad are capable of producing good results," Calcott said.
"We are still talking to a few players and also have one import slot to fill. We aren't going to rush that process and we'll make sure when we add someone they are going to make a difference. There are a few Wellington-based players taking a break and recovering from injuries that will come into contention as the season gets under way."
Wellington will play an intersquad game on Saturday before stepping up their preparations in a pre-season match against Hawke's Bay United on October 28 at David Farrington Park.
The season starts with an away trip to Waitakere on November 4 as Calcott and co look to avenge last season's grand final defeat.
Team Wellington squad: Goalkeepers: Scott Basalaj, Will Jones Defenders: Tim Schaeffers, Jamie Duncan, Andreas Damgaard, Kyle Segebart, Karl Whalen, Luke Rowe, Justin Gulley, Alec Solomons Midfielders: Wiremu Patrick, Adam McGeorge, Cory Chettleburgh, Henry Fa'arodo, Jimmy Haidakis, Tom Doyle, Tom Biss Forwards: Karsten Viborg, Andrew Abba, Hamish Watson.