Herbert eyes road wins

Wellington Phoenix are desperate to translate their recent good form at home into wins on the road as they prepare to take on Adelaide United at Hindmarsh Stadium on Friday night.

Wellington Phoenix are desperate to translate their recent good form at home into wins on the road as they prepare to take on Adelaide United at Hindmarsh Stadium on Friday night.

Since joining the Hyundai A-League in 2007 Phoenix have fashioned a formidable record at Westpac Stadium but have struggled playing in Australia, particularly in Adelaide where they have managed just one win in seven visits.

Their recent form has followed that familiar pattern.

They defeated Sydney in Wellington, then lost to Melbourne Heart in Morwell before claiming back-to-back wins over Perth Glory and Brisbane Roar (played in Dunedin) only to falter against Melbourne Victory away then thrashing Newcastle Jets 5-2 back at Westpac Stadium.

Coach Ricki Herbert admits the pressure is on to start producing winning football on the road.

"It's been on for about four years now because we haven't been very good at it," he admitted.

"We are going (to Adelaide) very, very focused on getting three points."

Defender Tony Lochhead, who returns to the travelling squad after recovering from a groin injury, believes the side will have plenty of confidence from the Jets win but must take that positive attitude into Friday night's game.

"That's where we need to make a step up," he said.

"If we can capitalise on Adelaide this weekend and get three points, that's a huge step in the right direction."

The Phoenix broke their drought at Hindmarsh Stadium in early February this year when Chris Greenacre scored for the 1-0 win.

Two weeks later Adelaide got their revenge, winning by the same margin in the elimination final.

But Lochhead admits it is a tough place to visit.

"It's small and compact and the fans are right on top of you," the 29-year-old defender said.

"They've got really passionate supporters. It is similar to Westpac. People don't like coming here and getting abuse from (Phoenix supporters group) Yellow Fever."

The arrival of John Kosmina, who replaced Rini Coolen as Adelaide coach 10 days ago, is also likely to make the Phoenix's job that much tougher.

"They've got a very good squad on paper," said Lochhead.

"They are going to be dangerous with a new coach coming in. It always seems to lift players. It's definitely not going to be an easy game."

"Players want to impress the new coach so they are going to step up. They are going to be trying their best to keep their positions in the team. They will be playing better than they have that's for sure."