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Ernie Merrick is not about to pull a Ricki Herbert.
Wellington Phoenix co-owner Gareth Morgan, Merrick's neighbour, caused a stir when he suggested New Zealand needed "one coach to rule them all" and that coach should be Merrick.
Herbert coached the Phoenix and the All Whites with mixed success between 2007-13 but Merrick yesterday ruled out the possibility of wearing two hats.
"I want the public to know I'm only focused on the Phoenix," Merrick said.
"[Some people have] had a go at me saying 'I can't win a game [with the Phoenix] so why would I be interested?' And they're right - I'm not interested."
New Zealand Football has said Herbert's replacement won't be found until the new year.
Merrick attended the All Whites' 4-2 loss to Mexico in Wellington earlier this month and felt it was a reasonable effort considering the opposition.
"They were up against it. Mexico's a nation of 112 million people, all of them mad on football, and they've qualified for 14 World Cups."
Merrick's attention is firmly on notching his first win against Western Sydney at Westpac Stadium on Sunday.
He will be without striker Jeremy Brockie (hamstring) and left back Reece Caira (rested). Brockie has a grade one tear and while he probably could play against the Wanderers, there was risk of further damage.
Tyler Boyd comes into the squad, with Kenny Cunningham and Paul Ifill the options to replace Brockie.
Merrick said Caira's omission was not form related.
"Young players shouldn't be forced to play too many games in a row and he's played six straight. A little bit of a break mentally, they come back even more fired up."
Either Manny Muscat or Michael Boxall would take Caira's place.
"If you're on the flank you've got to have pace and they have that."
The Wanderers are without key attacking trio Shinji Ono (groin), Youssouf Hersi (foot) and Tomi Juric (knee).
- © Fairfax NZ News
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