Herbert preaches ruthlessness

Wellington Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert would like to see more attacking intent from his side when it takes on Adelaide United in Round 5 in Wellington on Friday.

Wellington Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert would like to see more attacking intent from his side when it takes on Adelaide United in Round 5 in Wellington on Friday.

After creating plenty of forward momentum and building pressure in the second half to grab a draw against Brisbane two weeks ago, Wellington went into its shell against Sydney last weekend and paid the price as it went down 2-0 at the Sydney Football Stadium.

Herbert has hinted that changes are likely in midfield to provide the spark needed.

"We'll probably tinker a little bit with personnel going forward. We were no different against Sydney than what we were against Brisbane from a formation point of view," Herbert said.

"Sometimes I think the mindset to go forward was probably a little bit more cautious than what we had against Brisbane."

"We've chased games which has probably had us a little more attacking minded. At the end of the day you start off 0-0 and there's no need to be in that mindset."

"People are there to look after the goals and people are there to score them. I guess we are just trying to define that a little bit clearer."

Manny Muscat's World Cup commitments with Malta mean Herbert has been forced into a change in defence as well.

Muscat's absence leaves a hole at right back which could be filled by either Andrew Durante or Ben Sigmund, although the coach would only confirm that defensive midfielder Jon McKain would drop back to central defence.

McKain's switch opens up a chance for Tim Brown to return to the midfield after recovering from a groin strain.

"You've got Brown. You've got (Vince) Lia, who I think has been excellent in the time he's had on the pitch, Leo Bertos, Daniel Cortez, from an attacking point of view - all those players are in the mind at the moment," Herbert added.

Like the Phoenix, Adelaide has a win, two losses and a draw under its belt coming into the match at Westpac Stadium.

But after a stellar year last year, which culminated in another grand final appearance, the Reds have yet to hit those heights again giving Herbert some hope his team can grab a breakthrough win against Aurelio Vidmar's men.

"Three points for us is incredibly important for us on Friday night. But it's difficult to know with Adelaide. They've had a couple of extremely good years and we're only four games in," Herbert said.

"They are going to be a top-six side. It's early days but we've got to do what we're good at and if we do that then we can get three points."