Greenacre: Phoenix must stay focused

Wellington Phoenix striker Chris Greenacre says his team cannot afford to be distracted by the drama engulfing Gold Coast United.

Wellington Phoenix striker Chris Greenacre says his team cannot afford to be distracted by the drama engulfing Gold Coast United.

The two teams are scheduled to meet in Wellington on Sunday afternoon but the A-League match remains in limbo after Football Federation Australia stripped Gold Coast chairman Clive Palmer of his licence during the week.

Palmer is seeking an injunction in the Supreme Court of Queensland claiming Gold Coast were denied 'natural justice'.

FFA chairman Lyall Gorman is currently on the Gold Coast negotiating with the Professional Footballers Association, with a view to allowing the club to play in Sunday's fixture.

Despite all the uncertainty Greenacre said his team had to prepare as if the game was going ahead.

"You can't leave anything to chance in a situation like this," the striker-cum-assistant coach said.

"If you start thinking the game is off then sometimes your attitude isn't quite right."

"The Gold Coast game is absolutely massive for us. We can't afford in any way to take this game lightly or think there isn't going to be a game."

Perth Glory leap-frogged Wellington into third thanks to their 2-0 win at Adelaide on Thursday night and in a congested top six the fight for placings for the finals series are likely to go down to the wire.

It is why the Phoenix are so keen for Gold Coast United to see out the season as they also have matches coming up against other playoff hopefuls Newcastle Jets, Glory and Brisbane Roar.

"We don't want the league to have to say here's three points for everyone or take points off whoever has beaten them in the past whatever the situation is they are going to do," said Wellington captain Andrew Durante.

"We want to play them. We want it to be fair. They've got to play four teams in the top six so they are important to the league and they need to play these games. From what I understand they will be, so hopefully it happens."

Having been through similar worries about their futures when previous owner Terry Serepisos was struggling with his massive financial problems, both Durante and Greenacre had sympathy for what the Gold Coast players were going through, particularly former team-mates Glen Moss and Dylan Macallister.

"I know Dylan and you don't want it happening to any of your friends or anyone in life really," said Greenacre.

"It is disappointing but hopefully they can get sorted out - if it's at Gold Coast or maybe elsewhere."

"They will be putting themselves in the shop window because they will be trying to earn contracts either there or anywhere else. They will be fully up for it (the match on Sunday). I do sympathise with them."

As for the Phoenix, Greenacre admits their past three performances have fallen a little flat, although he was happy the team had managed to snatch all three points in their "smash and grab" raid on Sydney.

"We're not here to please people we're here to get three points and that was important after the Central Coast game that we got back to winning ways," said the English import.

"We knew if we could get three points there it would set us up nicely for this Gold Coast game albeit it goes ahead."

Wellington's New Zealand internationals were all back at the club on Friday following Wednesday night's 3-2 loss to Jamaica, although Ben Sigmund and Tim Brown only took a light part in training.

Daniel was also a spectator and coach Ricki Herbert confirmed the Brazilian midfielder would be out for the rest of the season with a cracked ankle.

There was a little testiness to the rest of the session however, with strong tackles going in and a few heated words when passes went astray or scoring chances were missed.

"I think it's really encouraging to see a few tackles going in, a bit of nastiness in the camp," said Greenacre.

"With four games to go it shows the boys have still got that hunger and desire."

"We're all the best of friends away from it. In there (the pitch) that's where it all happens and from time to time there are fights, arguments and all that kind of stuff. If we're getting that at this stage of the season it's a great attribute to have and it shows how hungry we are to be successful."