Greenacre remains realistic

Wellington Phoenix striker Chris Greenacre describes himself as a realist and accepts his return to Hyundai A-League action is likely to be via the bench.

Wellington Phoenix striker Chris Greenacre describes himself as a realist and accepts his return to Hyundai A-League action is likely to be via the bench.

Greenacre has missed the past five games with a knee injury and with Eugene Dadi making such an impressive debut for the Phoenix in last Saturday's 3-1 win against the Brisbane Roar, coach Ricki Herbert is under no pressure to rush the Englishman back into the starting XI for Friday's clash with North Queensland Fury now he is fit.

"The team have been playing well and it's hard to break into a team [that's going well]," Greenacre admitted.

"I had this at Tranmere where I got a calf injury and missed two weeks and we won the four games that I missed and they went on a 12-game unbeaten run. I had to sit it out and there is nothing that you can do."

"If the lads are performing that's what it's all about. If I get my chance it's up to me to keep the other boys out."

"I think it's healthy for the team. It's healthy for the manager and it's the sort of problem a manager wants to face."

Dadi scored a spectacular goal to open his account in Phoenix colours and followed up with a simple tap-in at Westpac Stadium which helped lift his new side to fifth.

Greenacre however has taken Dadi's success in his stride.

"I'm at that stage in my career where for me it's about the team and trying to win things," the 32-year-old said. "If we bring someone in the quality of Eugene and he does the business that's great."

"The most important thing for us the other day was to get the three points and we did and we did it in spectacular fashion."

That's not to say Greenacre has been enjoying life on the sidelines while he has been working his way back to fitness.

"The hard thing for me and the frustrating thing is not actually being part of that and being on the outside. That's the thing that hurts me more than anything," he said.

"It's been a bit of a grind over the Christmas period being in the gym doing your rehabilitation away from the boys."

"Then coming up to training and seeing the boys training it's even more difficult."

"I'm hoping that's behind me now and I can look forward."

He may have to wait for that starting position with Herbert already making it clear he is leaning towards retaining last week's XI for Friday's encounter. But a spot on the bench is not out of the question.

"I think probably the important thing now is to get some of those key experienced players back on the bench or get them some time," said the Phoenix coach.

"We've got to travel after this for basically three games so it's going to be important to have them all available."

Herbert has not ruled out the possibility of a Dadi-Greenacre pairing up front in the future either.

"I think you could see that partnership this year. I think it could work. But I think the way we have been playing has been quite effective so whether we will change that on Friday or not we'll see," Herbert added.

Dadi and Greenacre had a pre-season together at Tranmere Rovers in 2005 shortly before the former Ivory Coast striker moved on to Nottingham Forest.

"We had a few games in pre-season and a little bit of play but when I've watched the A-League I know what Eugene is about," said Greenacre.

"He's been a good goal scorer [in the A-League] for a while - throughout the world really, he's been everywhere. He's scored goals wherever he's gone. It's whetted my appetite to play with him."