Wellington Phoenix sign Krishna for two years

SAM WORTHINGTON
Last updated 07:02 21/03/2014
Roy Krishna
Getty Images
ROY KRISHNA: The Wellington Phoenix striker is looking likely to be fit to take on West Ham in Auckland on Wednesday night.

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Roy Krishna's week keeps getting better and his smile wider.

On Sunday, the Wellington Phoenix striker became the first Fijian to score in the A-League with a spectacular counter-attacking goal in the controversial 2-2 draw against Melbourne Heart.

On Monday, the 26-year-old was named the league's official player of the week and yesterday he signed a new two-year contract with the Phoenix.

"It's great to create history for your country and I'm very grateful to do that," Krishna said.

"My family and friends back home are texting me about the goal and wishing me luck. To play in the A-League is a dream come true."

Krishna was signed in January as an injury replacement for Paul Ifill.

His first four appearances were off the bench and the initial impressions were underwhelming as he suffered from nerves.

But he kept impressing at training and Phoenix coach Ernie Merrick let him off the leash with his first start against Perth Glory at Westpac Stadium.

The pacy Krishna hit the post and looked likely as he buzzed about, before Sunday's breakthrough in Melbourne, which also featured a goal assist.

"Obviously, when you're a striker there's pressure on your shoulders to score goals and I've been lucky to get two starts and a goal. It is a bit of a relief and there's no pressure now. But there is more of a job to be done, to score more goals and help the team get in the top-six."

A two-year contract is a big call for a striker with just one A-League goal but Merrick has seen enough at training.

"He came off the bench for us and nerves just got the better of him," Merrick said.

"But he continued to work at it in training and, in the last two games, I thought he's been outstanding. I think he's a very good player for us to sign. He has all those qualities that are hard to find: speed, tremendous dribbling ability, a nose for goals, a shot with his left and right foot.

"I'm very impressed. I think Roy Krishna is becoming a major player in our team and can get better."

Merrick yesterday made two changes to his squad for tomorrow's game against the Newcastle Jets at Hunter Stadium.

With Ben Sigmund suspended, centre back Luke Adams comes in, along with Team Wellington right back Justin Gulley, an injury replacement.

In terms of the starting XI, Manny Muscat is expected to switch to right back, with Michael Boxall assuming his preferred central defensive position and Matthew Ridenton likely in midfield.

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Carlos Hernandez is missing again as he continues to rehab his calf injury.

- Fairfax Media

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