Daniel can't wait to start for Phoenix

Wellington Phoenix playmaker Daniel is determined to make the most of the opportunity of gaining his first start of the season against Adelaide United on Friday night.

Wellington Phoenix playmaker Daniel is determined to make the most of the opportunity of gaining his first start of the season against Adelaide United on Friday night.

The enigmatic Brazilian has been on the bench for the Phoenix's first four Hyundai A-League matches but coach Ricki Herbert has finally entrusted Daniel with a run-on role at Wellington's Westpac Stadium.

The player himself admits he is not up to full fitness yet but the 29-year-old will be giving it all he's got in pursuit of the seventh-placed Phoenix's second victory of the year.

"It has been a long time for me on the bench," Daniel said.

"But I respect Ricki's decision. Of course I was not happy to be on the bench, it is not a nice place to be. Every player wants to start, but you have to respect the coach's decision.

"I decided I would work very hard at training and now it is my time. I want to do my job and help us get three points at home.

"I'm probably not quite 100 per cent fit. Every player needs to play 90 minutes and I have gone a long time without starting. But I have been working hard and I want to play as long as I can against Adelaide."

Daniel formed a potent left-side partnership with Tony Lochhead in Wellington's inaugural season in 2007/08 and is looking forward to reigniting the double threat on Friday.

"Tony is an excellent player, he is running all the time, and we play well together because we understand each other. We need to get that back again and create problems for other teams."

Daniel's focus is also on delivering quality balls into new strikers Chris Greenacre and Paul Ifill. He would do well to pull on the memory of a superb cross for Greenacre's headed goal to secure a 1-all draw against Brisbane in round three.

As well as Daniel, Herbert is posed to give Vince Lia his chance in the starting XI. Lia, captain Andrew Durante and Ben Sigmund are all in line to slot into right back in place of Manny Muscat, who is on international duty with Malta.

"Like Daniel, Vinnie's been patient and his impact off the bench when required has been very, very good," Herbert said. "I've seen the hunger in his eyes and he's been training well, so I'm expecting a big game from him."

While it's good news for Daniel and Lia, there is only disappointment for gun youngster Marco Rojas. The 17-year-old was set to be included in the playing squad for the Adelaide match but has suffered a calf strain.

"Marco would have been on the bench," said Herbert. "That would have been fantastic for him and reward for all his work. So, if not for a calf strain, he would have been part of it.

"Marco's got an abundance of ability but I need to ensure that when he gets his chance he's able to grab it. I need him at 100 per cent and if things go well (with his recovery) I'll certainly be looking to take him to Melbourne for the match against the Victory (on September 13)."