Phoenix not taking Fury lightly

Wellington Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert will settle for an ugly win against North Queensland Fury on Sunday, but what he and his team really want is a performance that will lift the confidence and give them some momentum heading into the Hyundai A-League playoffs.

Wellington Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert will settle for an ugly win against North Queensland Fury on Sunday, but what he and his team really want is a performance that will lift the confidence and give them some momentum heading into the Hyundai A-League playoffs.

The Phoenix need a point from the clash at Westpac Stadium to claim the sixth and final spot in the finals series ahead of Newcastle Jets, who are three points behind Wellington and need to beat Central Coast in the last match of the round and hope the Fury knock over the Phoenix.

If things go according to form - and Wellington have lost just twice in 34 matches at Westpac Stadium - the Phoenix should be good enough to beat bottom-placed Fury.

But after being totally outplayed by Sydney in midweek, Herbert is taking nothing for granted.

"I don't think the Fury will be an easy side to beat. Sydney were a good reflection of that," the coach said. "These sides are well out of it now and they've got nothing to lose."

"They can spoil a big party for us here. But we've gone five out of five at home and only been beaten twice out of 34 so hopefully that stacks up (on Sunday)."

In front of their vocal home fans, there is no chance the Phoenix will come out and play just for the point required to set up an away trip to Adelaide United next week, particularly as the defence will be shored up by the return of Ben Sigmund and Manny Muscat, who were suspended for the previous two games.

Andrew Durante sits out the match, the second of his two-game ban for eight yellow cards, and Vince Lia's hamstring injury will keep him on the sidelines as well.

Herbert has said he will retain Chris Greenacre to play just behind target-man Dylan Macallister with Marco Rojas and Nicky Ward ranging out wide.

"We won't change the style of what we do at home," said Herbert. "That could be suicidal really."

"We've two good wide players in Wardie and Marco. They have been very, very good, especially at home, so hopefully they will be a handful again."

Central midfielder Tim Brown admitted the performance against Sydney, where they had goalkeeper Danny Vukovic to thank for keeping the defeat to just two goals, had left him frustrated.

"We've been doing really well for the last two or three months and Sydney was really frustrating because I felt it was maybe a bit of a step back," he said.

"It's an important game for us on Sunday just to get things back on track. We need to get a result but it's also a case of going for a really good performance that shows everyone we deserve to be in the playoffs and we'll be a force to be reckoned with in the playoffs."

Brown may have to curb his usual enthusiasm as he knows he is just one yellow card away from missing the next two matches.

"It's not ideal," said Brown. "It's probably something that has cost us a little bit down this late stretch to lose Dura (Durante), Siggy (Sigmund) and Manny is not ideal."

"Looking back on it I don't feel at times we-ve done too much wrong."

"I don't know if we've been an overly physical or aggressive team but certainly they have stacked up and it's not easy."

"I personally will have to be careful because to make the playoffs and not be able to play would be heartbreaking."