Herbert rallies Auckland

Wellington Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert has thrown down the challenge to the Auckland public ahead of the side's clash with Adelaide United at Eden Park on Saturday.

Wellington Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert has thrown down the challenge to the Auckland public ahead of the side's clash with Adelaide United at Eden Park on Saturday.

The latest figures have shown approximately 11,000 tickets have been sold so far for the A-League battle at the sacred rugby ground.

The match is being seen as a trial for possible A-League matches to come in the area, and Herbert said while it was hard to compare the region to the rest of the country there was a lot for the city of 1.4 million to live up to.

"I don't want to compare around the country, but we've been to Christchurch and they've been incredibly loyal and supportive - 20,000 through some extremely difficult times.

"Dunedin this year was very good and opening the stadium, I think there was a bit of attention around that as well as the team."

Herbert said the chance to see players such as Leo Bertos, Ben Sigmund and Mark Paston who were a part of the unbeaten New Zealand side at the FIFA World Cup in South Africa last year - combined with some good A-League players - should be enough motivation for a healthy crowd on Saturday.

"I think it's a chance to see them for the first time maybe, that's more the message from me."

The Phoenix, while not playing at home in Wellington, still consider the match in Auckland as a home game, especially when a trip across the Tasman from Adelaide United is compared to a one-hour plane trip for the 'hosts'.

"I suppose it might not be a bad thing to be away from Westpac - we've lost two in a row there - so it might get us on a roll again," Ricki joked.

"I think it's pretty much a home game and I think from a support point of view from what we can kind of feel it could be a decent turnout, too."