Hernandez signs on at Phoenix for another year

SAM WORTHINGTON
Last updated 01:41 09/01/2014
Carlos Hernandez
DARRIAN TRAYNOR/ Getty
BACK IN THE GAME: Phoenix striker Carlos Hernandez.

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Carlos Hernandez predicts the Phoenix will play finals football this year after agreeing terms with the A-League club for another season.

The Phoenix last year announced they had signed the Costa Rican playmaker on a two-year contract, but yesterday revealed that it was actually a one-year deal with an option.

Hernandez and the Phoenix have activated that option and he will play in Wellington in 2014-15.

"I am really happy in Wellington," Hernandez said.

"I have settled well and now my family is with me it is even better. The team is playing really good, attacking football and is more confident now that we have three wins in the last three games. I also think I will play better in the rest of the season and I'm sure we will make the finals. Once that is achieved anything can happen in the playoffs."

The ninth-placed Phoenix failed to win in their first 10 games but now sit just five points off the finals pace.

A former league MVP, Hernandez has been a moderate success so far.

His footballing IQ and ability is obvious but his goalscoring and set-piece delivery can improve.

It has been an up-and-down couple of weeks for the 31-year-old.

His family eventually arrived in Wellington from Costa Rica on Christmas Eve, while on New Year's Eve he was ordered to undergo surgery on a fractured wrist.

But a subsequent CT scan determined he could play on, wearing a brace on his wrist, which he described as stiff but pain-free yesterday.

Phoenix coach Ernie Merrick said Hernandez was an "automatic" choice to return to the starting XI for Sunday's home game against Central Coast.

"With Carlos' service, the law of averages work in our favour," Merrick said.

"Carlos is a key player for us and to have him settled and here for next season as well is good for everyone."

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