New recruit Cernak to start for Phoenix

DUNCAN JOHNSTONE
Last updated 05:00 03/02/2013

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Wellington Phoenix coach Riki Herbert says new recruit Isaka Cernak will start tomorrow's crunch A-League football match against Perth at Eden Park.

Herbert is keeping his options open in the leadup to this wooden spoon battle in Auckland but made it clear that Cernak will be there from the opening whistle.

Cernak has been signed from the Melbourne Victory to boost the Phoenix's midfield.

He came off the bench for his debut in last week's 1-all draw with Newcastle in Wellington but Herbert wants to make full use of his attacking style against Perth.

"Isaka Cernak will start," Herbert said today as the Phoenix wound up training at Eden Park.

"We brought him to the club to play, albeit with a little time on the pitch last week ... he's a decent player."

Herbert indicated Dani Sanchez could be the player to step aside for Cernak but was keeping his final lineup under wraps.

It's two frustrated teams confronting each other in Auckland with Perth, last year's beaten finalists, just above the Phoenix at the foot of the table.

"They will be desperate too, so it's set for a pretty decent game. There are three points on the table and I think we're good enough to do it," Herbert said.

He believes the Phoenix can still make a late burst for the playoffs. They are only four points off the pace.

"There are still 27 points up for grabs, that's a lot. A decent run now ... three points here would be a massive boost for us," Herbert said.

Kickoff is at 5pm.

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- Fairfax Media

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