Phoenix to unveil Sanchez

Wellington Phoenix recruit Dani Sanchez is in line to make his Hyundai A-League debut this weekend against Gold Coast United.

Wellington Phoenix recruit Dani Sanchez is in line to make his Hyundai A-League debut this weekend against Gold Coast United.

Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert gave a strong hint that the Spaniard would take up an attacking midfield role for the clash at Skilled Park.

"I just think he brings a little bit of X-factor," Herbert added. "That's probably a little bit different than what we've had in the past. Dani will probably slot in behind Chris Greenacre."

"But (Nick) Ward has come back vibrant and bright and he's great when he's on the ball. We've got good options in midfield."

Sanchez scored two good goals in a final hit-out for the Phoenix last weekend and fellow midfielder Tim Brown has been impressed by the way the 26-year-old has slotted in.

"He's just a great talent and he's a lovely bloke. He'll be one to watch for us this season," declared the Phoenix vice-captain.

"He's an attacking player. He's got pace and he's probably used to playing as a striker so for him to play in the midfield will give us that extra dimension. He's someone who can score goals too so that's another threat."

Sanchez's inclusion in the midfield will mean a slight change in formation for the Phoenix, who had Manny Muscat providing a screening role behind Brown and Vince Lia in front of the back four last season.

But Jimmy Downey has a slight groin problem and Muscat is expected to slot in at right back against Gold Coast on Sunday.

"I could probably start him if I needed to," Herbert said of Downey. "But with being a bit light numbers-wise I don't want to risk it."

"I'll travel him and if we need to use him I think we could. But the last thing we want is another six-month groin injury. We'll be patient. Manny can do a job there."

"He plays for Malta at right back and he's played for us numerous times at right back," added Herbert.

Brown was just glad that the season was about to kick-off given the lengthy off-season, the recent upheaval at the club and change of ownership.

"Right through this whole process - it's not been easy for anyone - but the boys have stuck very, very close together."

"I think seeing it as a positive and how we've come out of this process with the new owners everything looks positive. We're ready to go, he said.

"There is this core group of guys who have been together for a long time and know each other inside out."

"While on paper there might not have been that many big signings or reason for fans to be too excited I think we've got a really solid feel about this. I'm really excited about this starting."