Herbert wants goals

Wellington Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert wants to see more goals from his side as they get ready to welcome Melbourne Heart to Westpac Stadium for the first time this weekend.

Wellington Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert wants to see more goals from his side as they get ready to welcome Melbourne Heart to Westpac Stadium for the first time this weekend.

The Phoenix have scored 12 goals in nine games so far and Herbert has been disappointed with the number of goal-scoring opportunities that his players have created and wants to see an improved conversion rate from set piece as well as more creative spark from open play.

Paul Ifill, the club's leading goalscorer last season with 13, has struggled to make the same impact now that he is being more closely marked and Herbert says the onus is on other players around him, such as Leo Bertos, Tim Brown and Chris Greenacre, to start creating chances or finding the back of the net.

"Shots on goal last year we were top or second in the league. This year we're probably not even featuring," Herbert lamented. "We've encouraged the players to take people on and create those chances.

"Paul was a big player in that area for us last year and we probably haven't seen that quite as much from him but he's probably been more targeted this year."

"The responsibility lies around everybody to help in that stat because it was a big stat for us last year and crucial in us making the top four. It's goals that we need."

Bertos said he was ready to meet the challenge laid down by Herbert - particularly getting back to his natural game of running hard at defenders and taking them on.

"It's something I didn't really do at the start of the season," he admitted. "It's something I want to get back into doing. It's probably the best part of my game and I've got to carry on doing it."

"I had more opportunities to do that in the last couple of games so hopefully I can do that again this weekend."

Herbert has hinted at changes at the back as well as he considers employing a three-man defensive line against the A-League newcomers.

Herbert has used that formation with the New Zealand international side and suggested it was a possibility for the Phoenix once Jade North joined the club.

"I think we've got the personnel to play it and at some stage I want to play it. Sunday could be the first time," Herbert said.

Skipper Andrew Durante said the players would be comfortable with the switch.

"We've got Jade who is a Socceroo and Siggy (Ben Sigmund) who's an All White and they are very comfortable on the ball and know their positions quite well," the centre back said.

"We've been training with it for a little bit. It's just a case of a lot of communication on the field and we'll be all right."

Sunday's match has the potential to be a record-breaking one for Wellington who have gone 23 games undefeated at Westpac Stadium and currently share the honour of the longest unbeaten run at one venue with Sydney.

The last time the Phoenix lost in Wellington was against Brisbane Roar on October 26, 2008.

"The record hasn't been mentioned at all inside the camp," said Durante. "It's just another game for us. If we get it fantastic but we're concentrating on three points and obviously the record will come with that."