Smeltz: Travel factor no issue

Gold Coast star Shane Smeltz has dismissed concerns over a tight travel schedule to Wellington, saying the short preparation will keep the squad focused on removing the Phoenix's stranglehold over the club.

Gold Coast star Shane Smeltz has dismissed concerns over a tight travel schedule to Wellington, saying the short preparation will keep the squad focused on removing the Phoenix's stranglehold over the club.

Without the luxury of flying in team owner Clive Palmer's personal jet, United have been forced to depart the Gold Coast late on Thursday evening with an arrival in New Zealand expected to be midnight Friday.

Cutting a very fine line, Miron Bleiberg's men will then have less than 24 hours to prepare for the action at Westpac Stadium due to kick-off the same day at 7:30pm (5:30pm AEST).

Unfazed by the whirlwind travel Smeltz said: "We'll do anything to make it a little bit different to last time."

"Last time we went over a couple of days early and it was a bit too nice, but hopefully this time our travel plans work in our favour."

After spending two years at Wellington Smeltz agreed that teams travelling over from Australia would always be at a disadvantage, but stressed this wouldn't be an excuse for a poor performance.

"I've played there myself and you enjoy playing there when you're the home team because you know teams don't really like going there," he said.

"They've obviously got confidence in making that ground their fortress and I'm sure they want to keep a hold of that, but we obviously want to put that right."

"It's a fresh season and they have a little bit of pressure on them to maintain that record at home, and we know that if we play well on the day we can upset them for sure."

The Phoenix are the only side Gold Coast have yet to defeat and memories of last season still run deep at the club, especially the 6-0 thumping which rattled the men in yellow and instilled Wellington as United's bogey side.

Looking to reverse the results of last season with a win on Friday night, Smeltz also revealed that he'd be making a return to his familiar posting up-front, after last weekend's experiment to play Joel Porter at striker proved unsuccessful.

"From the shape we've done this week we've kind of reverted back to (the old formation) so we'll see how that goes," he said.

"We've also got a few other things we've worked on and I think we'll look a lot better this week."

"They were our bogey side last season and even at home we didn't play well against them, they're a compact side and they've played well against us."

"But I think we've learned a lot from last season and I guess you could say we're kind of looking forward to the match. I think we need to put a few things right if we can."