Chris Greenacre favours assistant coach role

Phoenix coach Chris Greenacre
Phoenix coach Chris Greenacre

For a man who could be looking for a job in a few weeks, Chris Greenacre sounds remarkably upbeat.

The caretaker coach of the Wellington Phoenix, Greenacre had toyed with the idea of applying for the role fulltime.

Applications close next Friday, but Greenacre now says he wants to revert to being the club's assistant coach next season - should the new gaffer want him.

"I'd back the new coach 100 per cent, that's what you're there to do as an assistant, back the head coach," Greenacre said from Perth where the Phoenix are preparing to play the Glory at nib Stadium tomorrow night.

"I've got no qualms about doing that but again, stranger things have happened in football. I know that a new coach could bring his own backroom staff and I may be without a job in the next few weeks. So that's the harsh reality of football, there are ups and downs and yeah, I could be looking for a job. But I won't have any qualms about that, I've thoroughly enjoyed my time at the Phoenix but I hope it doesn't end."

The Phoenix have remained relatively silent about the search for Ricki Herbert's replacement, other than to say the new man will be in place by the end of next month and all but ruling out the prospect of another Kiwi.

Among the latest to be linked with the post are former All White Duncan Oughton, who is now helping coach MLS club Columbus Crew, and Central Coast Mariners assistant Phil Moss. also reported that a former Real Madrid player was believed to be in the running.

Greenacre was in his first season as an assistant when Herbert resigned and said he had been far too busy to contemplate making a permanent run at the top job.

"There are far more experienced coaches out there than me, it just happens that I'm in the right place at the right time . . . You don't know whether you want to be a coach or an assistant coach, you have to find your niche I think. And I haven't had the opportunity to find my niche. I've had this little taste and I've really enjoyed the last two or three weeks. In the long term, yeah, I would love to be a head coach, be it here or anywhere else. But I really want to become a good coach first."

The last-placed Phoenix have made two changes to their squad, with Stein Huysegems and Ian Hogg replacing Louis Fenton and Tyler Boyd, who are away with the New Zealand under-20 team.

Greenacre had not yet made a decision on his starting XI, but is a fan of Huysegems, who missed the 2-1 loss to Western Sydney through suspension.

"I thought Stein had a really good game against Melbourne Heart so we're happy to have him back. We've still got a couple of days and there's a couple of little niggles that we need to address. I'll give the squad maximum opportunity to hold their hand up to be picked."

The Phoenix need a win to boost their chances of avoiding the wooden spoon, with just the home game against Melbourne Victory remaining.

Meanwhile, two finals-bound clubs have suffered setbacks with star players being declared unfit for tonight's games.

Japanese import Shinji Ono has been ruled out of Western Sydney's match against Melbourne Heart, with coach Tony Popovic not willing to risk further injury.

The midfielder was replaced at halftime against the Phoenix with hamstring tightness.

"He's progressing very well from last week but we feel we don't want to risk him at this stage," Popovic said.

And Victory playmaker Marcos Flores has been ruled out of tonight's blockbuster clash with Sydney FC. Victory coach Ange Postecoglou hoped to have his marquee man back on deck after missing the past three games but that plan was dashed when the Argentine left training early suffering lower-back pain.

Postecoglou then delivered the news that left back Adama Traore's season is over.

The ankle injury he suffered in the draw against the Brisbane Roar is likely to require surgery.


Perth (from): Danny Vukovic, Jack Clisby, Steve Pantelidis, Nick Ward, Jacob Burns, Dean Heffernan, Shane Smeltz, Liam Miller, Adrian Zahra, Ryo Nagai, Travis Dodd, Steven McGarry, Brandon O'Neill, Evan Berger, Chris Harold, Matias Cordoba, Josh Risdon, Scott Jamison, Ndumba Makeche, Michael Thwaite, Daniel De Silva, Lewis Italiano Phoenix (from): Glen Moss, Tony Lochhead, Andrew Durante, Ben Sigmund, Manny Muscat, Vince Lia, Paul Ifill, Leo Bertos, Corey Gameiro, Stein Huysegems, Jeremy Brockie, Mark Paston, Ian Hogg, Isaka Cernak, Dani Sanchez

The Dominion Post