Des Buckingham puts forward his case to retain the Wellington Phoenix coaching job video

WELLINGTON PHOENIX

Wellington Phoenix co-coach Des Buckingham will interview to be the head coach next season.

The search for the next Wellington Phoenix coach will start with the incumbents.

Current co-coach Des Buckingham said after training on Thursday both he and fellow co-coach Chris Greenacre would be interviewed by the club next week as individuals for the head coach role.

"We were told the season would be reviewed at the end.

Wellington Phoenix co-coach Des Buckingham, right, speaks to the players during a game this season.
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Wellington Phoenix co-coach Des Buckingham, right, speaks to the players during a game this season.

"The season finishes this weekend [against Brisbane on Sunday], it's been reviewed and we've been told we'll be interviewed for the position, that's likely to take place at some point next week. A decision will then made on whether that's myself, Chris, a combination or neither, so we'll wait for that to happen.

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"I'm not entirely sure on other candidates, all we've been told is that our process will take place next week. We'll prepare the team for this weekend first and foremost, then we'll get ready for that interview process."

Wellington Phoenix co-coach Des Buckingham during a training session earlier in the season.
GETTY IMAGES

Wellington Phoenix co-coach Des Buckingham during a training session earlier in the season.

The pair have a six-win, six-draw, six-loss record from their 18 games in charge since Ernie Merrick resigned last December.

Of those wins, three have been very impressive performances against Melbourne Victory (3-0 both home and away) and Brisbane Roar (2-1 away), while the other three were at home against the Central Coast Mariners (twice) and Newcastle Jets.

The losses tended to be in big games when a spot in the top six was on the line, including a particularly disappointing run of three-straight losses in February with an aggregate score of 11-3.

Buckingham was optimistic there had been enough shown during that run to earn the position for next season.

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"When we took over we were bottom of the table with six points, we are now consolidated in seventh. We've taken 24 points, we'd lost six of eight when we took over, we've now lost six from 18. The points tally now on the board is the second highest in five years, it's the second highest goals scored and, with the exception of this weekend, it's the second least goals conceded.

"When you bear in mind the start we had and what we took over at the time, yes it's six losses, but in the context of everything this season, with a few adjustments this team is ready to go for next year."

Those adjustments and recruitment would be key.

Buckingham believed the squad needed to be strengthened in two or three key areas to be successful next campaign.

So does the 32-year-old have the requisite recruitment experience to pull that off?

"I've had a fair bit, I was involved quite heavily at Oxford United in terms of recruitment, not just across the under-23s and down, but involved with the first team for two or three years, targeting players from Premier League academies and also first teams, all the way through to Championship and League One teams, which was pleasing and there are still some players left at that club which have done some good things and represented countries.

"In terms of recruiting here, I was heavily involved in the recruitment of the likes of Gui [Finkler] and Kosta [Barbarouses] with Ernie, not leading it, but involved in his processes.

"So I have a good background in recruiting, I've got good contacts in good places, the same as Chris and the same as anyone in this role should have."

Buckingham has certainly had some good managers to learn off in his time.

He worked for many years under Chris Wilder at Oxford, who is now regarded as one of the best managers in the lower leagues of England after taking Oxford to League Two, before earning promotions in consecutive seasons with Northampton Town and Sheffield United.

Having Ernie Merrick as a mentor for the past few seasons would certainly have given him an insight into what a successful A-League manager needs to have, despite Merrick not being able to achieve success at the Phoenix.

 - Stuff

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