Wellington Phoenix strikers back from injury
Wellington Phoenix strikers Stein Huysegems and Benjamin Totori have both recovered from their ankle injuries and today declared themselves ready to go goal hunting against the visiting Western Sydney Wanderers on Sunday.
Former Belgium international Huysegems started the season strongly with three early goals, but has been hindered by a knock to the ankle suffered against Melbourne Victory on November 5.
He missed the 3-0 win over the Jets in Newcastle before having a short burst off the bench in Saturday’s 1-1 draw with the Glory in Perth.
Huysegems ran with the first team in a training game today and looks likely to start against the Wanderers at Westpac Stadium in place of Louis Fenton.
Rising Kiwi winger Fenton has impressed in his debut season, but has had a heavy workload and may be used as a bench weapon on Sunday.
Solomon Islands international Totori missed the Glory game after rolling an ankle, but also trained freely today and is set to take his regular place on the bench.
Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert confirmed the Phoenix would continue with their 4-3-3 formation against the Wanderers.
Vince Lia has formed an effective midfield trio with Manny Muscat and Alex Smith.
‘‘I think so, we’ll just keep building on that,’’ Herbert said.
‘‘It gives us a chance now with four of the next five at home, to do a little bit more work on the training pitch and no players heading away [on international duty]. So everyone’s back, fit and healthy so competition’s good and strong.’’
After eight rounds the Phoenix are seventh in the 10-team A-League, one point behind competition newbies Western Sydney, whose marquee player is former Japan World Cup star Shinji Ono.
National league strugglers Manawatu and Waikato will square off in Sunday’s curtain-raiser at Westpac Stadium.