Phoenix in good nick

Wellington Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert was happy with the condition his players returned in after a three-month break.

Wellington Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert was happy with the condition his players returned in after a three-month break.

After recording their best finish (sixth) to a Hyundai A-League season, the Phoenix players took part in their first pre-season training session at Porirua Park on Thursday.

"The break has been good and it's allowed the players to clear their heads," Herbert said. "They've all come back well and that's important."

The New Zealand-based outfit still has players sidelined, though, most notably reigning club player of the season Leo Bertos.

However, Bertos is making steady progress after undergoing surgery for a leg injury in the off-season and is close to joining the main training group.

The news isn't as good for defender Ben Sigmund, who also had recent surgery for a hip complaint, as he remains a while away from starting his pre-season.

"Some of the guys are at different stages in their rehab but they're all looking well within themselves and I'm very pleased with what I've seen," Herbert said.

"We'll have a nice, gradual lead-in with training and hit the ground running on May 4. We've got a programme that will take us right the way through the pre-season but this initial two-week period is about getting the guys into the right mindset."

The training session also served as an unveiling of sorts of ex-Adelaide United midfielder Diego who was signed up by Wellington ahead of the 2009/10 season.

"Of course it's only early days but he looked well," Herbert said of Diego.

"Obviously there's a little bit of tidying up to do with his conditioning but he's good."