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Phoenix request A-League fixture switch

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 28 Jun 2012

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Wellington Phoenix have asked Football Federation Australia (FFA) to change the A-League draw to help the New Zealand national side.

The All Whites have 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers penciled in for October 12 and 16 and March 22 and 26.

And with several Phoenix players likely to be considered for international duty – including regular defenders Ben Sigmund, Tony Lochhead and goalkeepers Glen Moss and Mark Paston – it could leave the club desperately short for A-League matches against Melbourne Heart on October 14 and the Newcastle Jets on March 23.

The A-League draw rarely accounts for FIFA-designated dates, meaning players summoned for their international teams have to miss club games in order to represent their respective countries.

And while Ricki Herbert – coach of both teams – was upbeat over his potential juggling act, the Phoenix have opened correspondence with the FFA over a potential change.

“We just have to work through it in the smartest, (most) professional way that we can,” Herbert told The Dominion Post.

“The opening game on the 12th, we could probably get players to Melbourne in time; it’s not ideal that they don’t have windows, that’s the first thing.

“There are a lot of grey areas that we’ll cross when we get there. Once I speak to the players here too, it’s about how many of these guys are going to be in the squad.”

Herbert said he had few other options but to use his first-choice Phoenix players in the national line-up, hence why the A-League side have requested a fixture switch.

“I mean if (Winston) Reid plays and (Ryan) Nelsen plays and (Tommy) Smith plays and (Marco) Rojas plays and (Kosta) Barbarouses plays and (Chris) Wood, potentially how many will play?”

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