Phoenix close to full team

With the July 31 deadline to name a 20-man roster fast approaching Wellington Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert remains positive he will have all his slots filled by the end of the month.

With the July 31 deadline to name a 20-man roster fast approaching Wellington Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert remains positive he will have all his slots filled by the end of the month.

The Phoenix have 17 players already confirmed for the 2010/11 Hyundai A-League season and is close to completing deals with Argentine playmaker Roberto Carlos Cornejo and youngster Mirjan Pavlovic.

The club is also still waiting on a decision from Australian defender Jade North but English triallist Chris Shuker, who only arrived in the New Zealand capital last Friday, has chosen to return to Britain rather than pursue a contract.

"He's kind of realised that he's on the other side of the world to his family so it's a personal decision for him," said Herbert.

Cornejo, who is nicknamed Toto, has made a good impression after getting 30 minutes in the 2-1 win over Boca Juniors on Friday night and performing well in training.

"He's a great character and he'll work hard for us," Herbert said of the South American. "I think he's got that little bit of an X-factor."

Pavlovic, who got 20 minutes against Boca, is in line for the remaining under-21 contract and, like Cornejo, will get a run-out with a second-string Phoenix side that takes on Wairarapa United in Masterton on Wednesday.

"I don't think he'd let you down in the A-League. He's a player you would bring off the bench and he'd do a good job. He's pretty ready to play in the A-League," said Herbert of the big striker who missed out on a contract with the Newcastle Jets after being promoted from their youth team for their final three games of last season.

The Phoenix will also give a trial to Indonesian international Bambang Pamungkas, who played in his country's 1-0 loss to Australia in March.

Pamungkas arrives in Wellington on Wednesday.

"He's like the pin-up boy in Indonesia. He's on all the billboards and posters," said Herbert.

"I think the Indonesian FA are keen to broaden opportunities for their players and they've been very helpful and been supportive in getting him here."

"It's not a major risk to the club and it's a chance for us to see him."

The decision to sign Pamungkas could hinge on whether North opts to take up the deal on offer from Wellington as only five foreign players are allowed per squad and Herbert could be forced to look overseas for a defender if the ex-Jets skipper chooses to go elsewhere.

"We've got options but I'd like to bring Jade in for a lot of reasons," said the Phoenix coach. "A, he's a quality player. B he's an Australian too so it wouldn't eat into a foreign spot."

"I'm going to sign a defender no matter what. But if we sign another foreign player then your options to sign a defender are back into Australia and New Zealand again and I don't want to have to be restricted by that."