Wellington are confident there will not be a repeat of the ugly scenes that marred their spiteful pre-season fixture against Newcastle Jets.
Wellington Phoenix are confident this weekend there will not be a repeat of the ugly scenes that marred their spiteful pre-season fixture against Newcastle Jets at Hunter Stadium.
In August an all-in-brawl between the two sides following Tiago's tackle on Manny Muscat in the 25th minute resulted in red cards for those two players and Phoenix defender Ben Sigmund.
Phoenix captain Andrew Durante was sent off later in the match for lashing out at James Brown when he was on the ground.
All four were banned for between two to four matches, while the Phoenix trio were also fined by their club.
But Durante believed there would be no lingering resentment for either side in Sunday's Hyundai A-League encounter.
"It was a pre-season game. It was our first proper pre-season. There was a lot of feeling involved in that. But that was pre-season. It was a long time ago. You won't see any of that nonsense on the weekend," stressed the Phoenix skipper.
"There is nothing underlying at all. It's always a tough, physical battle against them. We're a tough, physical team. We'll go out there and play our game but we won't be thinking about anything from the last game."
Assistant coach Chris Greenacre felt the coaching staff would not have to remind the players of the need to stay disciplined.
"They are fully aware," said the Englishman.
"After all the shenanigans that went on in preseason the boys suffered massively on the tour of India and were unable to get the minutes required at the right time under their belt.
"They know what that punishment was like. We just probably need to remind them of that. That should be enough to keep everyone under control.
"There will be a couple of niggles I think but we've got to be professional and deal with it and let the referees deal with it the way they can."
New Zealand's international friendly against China in Shanghai on Wednesday has meant a disrupted build-up to a match the Phoenix need to win after three losses on the trot.
Coach Ricki Herbert and players Mark Paston, Glen Moss, Leo Bertos, Ben Sigmund, Tony Lochhead and Jeremy Brockie will rejoin their team-mates in Sydney on Friday.
Moss took no part in the 1-1 draw, while Paston and Tony Lochhead were the only ones to play the full 90 minutes.
Sigmund played 60-odd minutes and Bertos and Brockie the final 25. All, with the exception of Moss, should start against the Jets.
But striker Stein Huysegems is in doubt with an ankle injury. Despite scans on his left ankle coming back clear, the Belgian took no part in training on Thursday.
Greenacre however, seemed positive about the player's chances of playing.
"I'm sure he will pull through. We've all been there and had those sort of knocks on the ankle," he said.
"It's with the medical team and he's seen the right people so I fully expect him to be involved at the weekend.
"We've not looked (at replacements) because I think Stein is going to be the one to be up front.
"But we've got other options. Tyler Boyd could replace him. We've Ricardo Clark as well."
Regardless of who plays up front, the Phoenix will need to create more than just the one chance they managed against Central Coast last weekend.
Although that performance was a marked improvement to the lacklustre effort against Melbourne Victory, Huysegems' opportunity just before half-time, which blazed over the bar, was the nearest the Phoenix came to scoring.
"We were just missing that spark," explained Greenacre.
"The strikers were feeding on scraps.
"We just need to try and get ourselves in those wide areas where we've been a threat in recent years and make sure the strikers get plenty of ammunition.
"We'll be looking to do that against Newcastle."
Durante was adamant the run of losses, and the fact Sunday's match and the following one against Perth Glory were away from home, would not see the players go into their shells.
"If anything we've got to come out of it and really go for it," he said.
"We're not going to sit back and think 'we've got two on the road here, it's going to be tough'.
"We've got to really attack the games and got for it. We've got nothing to lose. No one is expecting us to win on the road. If we pick up some points on the road it will be great for the confidence of everyone."