Smeltz excited about Cup final

The Wellington Phoenix are approaching their Pre-Season Cup final with Melbourne Victory on Wednesday night full of confidence.

The Wellington Phoenix are approaching their Pre-Season Cup final with Melbourne Victory on Wednesday night full of confidence.

Given that they reached the final by going undefeated in the competition, their optimism is certainly justified.

In an historic tie, it is the first attempt at silverware for the home side. It also creates history through the fact that it is the first time a New Zealand-based club has been in any Australian football competition final.

Phoenix striker Shane Smeltz is excited about the fixture.

"Melbourne are a good side, but we have proved in the competition that we can beat anyone," he said. "We're all really looking forward to it."

The Phoenix have shown a marked improvement in this year's cup, and Smeltz attributes it to a number of factors, first and foremost the fact that the club were able to complete a full pre-season this year.

As the club was only formed in 2007, it was unable to prepare as methodically as they have for the impending season.

"I think having a full pre-season this year has made a big difference. We've got a new fitness coach and he's running us through a lot of new things in terms of our preparation," he said.

"If you look at the fact we're unbeaten in the pre-season, I think you have to say it's going pretty well."

Given the scrutiny of the some of the areas of the team last year, Smeltz was quick to pay tribute to the recruitment of new playing stocks to the club.

"The recruitment has been excellent. We've nailed the key areas from last season, and the defence is looking a lot sronger," the striker said.

"Ricki (coach Ricki Herbert) and the club have identified the key areas and have done really well in filling those spots…I think we're going to be really strong this season."

In terms of Wednesday night's match, Smeltz was equally optimistic.

"Everything is going really well, and as long as everyone in the team performs their job we'll come out of it giving ourselves the best chance of a good result," he said.