Ricki: Phoenix lack spark

Wellington Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert has more than just a leaky defence to concern him following his side's 3-0 A-League loss to Central Coast on Saturday.

Wellington Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert has more than just a leaky defence to concern him following his side's 3-0 A-League loss to Central Coast on Saturday.

The defeat brought their tally of goals conceded to 25 in 14 games but it is his players' inability to find the back of the net at the other end of the pitch that is starting to perplex the coach as well.

In the past four games they have scored just two goals - both to midfielder Tim Brown - while letting in 10.

At Westpac Stadium on Saturday, Simon Elliott and Chris Greenacre had efforts that rattled the woodwork.

Paul Ifill and skipper Andrew Durante, playing in his 100th A-League game, also had chances go begging which would have got the home side right back in the match after they had gone behind to a 17th minute goal from Josh Rose.

Instead it was Rose who doubled the Mariners' lead late in the match before Adam Kwasnik rubbed salt into the wound with a third goal four minutes from time.

Ifill, who was the club's leading goal-scorer last season and the main creative spark, has failed to fire so far this campaign, while Leo Bertos' form has also been patchy.

"It's not just the front third, there's not the same kind of bright spark (as last year)," Herbert, who has not ruled out making changes for next weekend's trip to Newcastle, said.

"I think Ifill is struggling to get past people. Whether that's because he's being marked a bit tighter (I don't know)."

"We just don't seem to have the bounce of the ball going our way. But you've got to make it yourself. We can't look anywhere else."

"I think it's important that we have players like Paul and Leo playing well," Herbert added.

"They are big players at the club and they have got to bring something to the table as well."

"We've got some young players that we can introduce. Maybe that's a little bit different for us and I'll give that some thought this week."

Durante conceded it had been another disappointing night on defence after letting in four against Brisbane 10 days earlier and three more against Adelaide prior to that.

"We've got to try and get our groove back," the skipper said.

"I thought we did that against Perth (in the 1-0 win)."

"I thought we put in a very good defensive effort and to come here tonight and give everything and we still cop three is tough to take."

In previous seasons the Phoenix have relied on their home form to carry them through. But with their record-breaking run of 24 games at Westpac Stadium ended by Brisbane and now a second successive loss at the venue, Durante said the pressure to get points away from home increased.

"Our away record is crucial now. If we're not going to pick up the points at home we've got to get them on the road," he said.

"It's tough but we've shown that we can do it (against Perth) so there's no reason why we can't go to Newcastle and pick up points there as well."

They will have to do it without Brown though. The midfielder collected his fifth yellow card of the season after appearing to kick Mariners keeper Matthew Ryan and will miss the trip to the Jets.