Roar match crucial for Phoenix

Midfielder Tim Brown describes the Wellington Phoenix's A-league match against Brisbane Roar in Dunedin on Wednesday night as "massive."

Midfielder Tim Brown describes the Wellington Phoenix's A-league match against Brisbane Roar in Dunedin on Wednesday night as "massive."

Brisbane are top of the table with 20 points, despite consecutive losses, and the Phoenix, with 10 points fewer, have a share of seventh place.

"I think the most impressive thing about Brisbane is their mentality," Brown said.

"Nothing seems to faze them."

"They've melded into a unit that just keeps playing and finds a way to win games. They've done it for so long they're starting to second guess some of the stuff they're doing , and they've lost a couple on the bounce, but you under-estimate them at your peril," he said.

The Phoenix play three matches in eight days and Brown said it was important they dealt with the tight schedule.

"Traditionally we haven't travelled all that well and this is in many ways an away game in Dunedin so it's vital we play well here."

Brown said the Phoenix had to improve on their 1-0 win over Perth Glory in Wellington at the weekend.

"It wasn't great for the fans to watch, it wasn't great for us to play in either but it was just really good to win."

"It's probably something we haven't done very well in the past - played poorly and won. We ground out something we can be quite proud of but it doesn't count for much unless we continue to improve and start playing really well again."

"We're doing a lot of things right but I just think we could generally lift our game and do better things with the ball. We didn't create a lot of chances with against Perth and a lot of our football was curtailed by their defensive doggedness."

Brown, 31, who has scored 20 goals in 91 games for the Phoenix, has been reasonably satisfied with his own form this season.

"It's been OK. I'd give myself a pass mark. I've been reasonably consistent and scored a few goals (three) but it could be better, too."

Brown, the vice-captain, is part of a strong Phoenix leadership group.

"I've been around for a while now so it's about keeping standards up. We've got a few leaders in the team."

Brown said the roofed Dunedin Stadium was a special venue.

"It's something people can be proud of. It's unusual, it's unique, the fans are close, the atmosphere is great and it's just a great venue. Dunedin is an example of what could be done in other parts of New Zealand."

Brown said he was fresher this season than last when he went into the campaign after the All Whites' successful but gruelling World Cup campaign.

"It was hard back then because we'd been playing football non-stop for about two years. But we had a good break during the last off-season and we went into this competition a lot fresher."

Brown has achieved a lot in his career but goals still remain.

"If you had asked me three or four years ago if I would play in a World Cup and be part of establishing the Phoenix as a credible force, then I would have been pretty happy with that."

"The challenge for us now is to go from making the Phoenix a credible force into a title contender."

"That's not an easy thing to do. There are lots of clubs with more money than us that have struggled to do that. It's that jump from being there or thereabouts to winning a title that is the hardest."