Trio out to impress Phoenix

A month-long opportunity is underway for three aspiring Wellington Phoenix players to show they have what it takes to step up to the next level.

A month-long opportunity is underway for three aspiring Wellington Phoenix players to show they have what it takes to step up to the next level.

Goalkeeper Reece Crowther, along with strikers Luis Corrales and Roy Krishna, joined the Phoenix squad on Monday as the Wellington-based side steps up its preparation towards the 2009/10 Hyundai A-League season.

Man mountain Crowther, 20, is an Australian shot-stopper who has recently been released by English club Queens Park Rangers while Corrales and Krishna are looking to carry over their dominance in the New Zealand Football Championship.

Crowther has been brought across the Tasman to challenge Mark Paston for the starting keeping spot after Glen Moss left Wellington to join the Melbourne Victory at the end of last season.

Another significant off-season departure from the the Phoenix, Gold Coast-bound Shane Smeltz, has left a huge gap in the striking stocks that Corrales and Krishna hope to fill in.

The man they most need to impress is Ricki Herbert. The Phoenix coach is well aware of the talent the trio possesses and is looking forward to seeing them in action.

"In the case of Luis and Roy in the NZFC we're well aware of what they've done there. They're players that are exciting, they can express in the front third of the pitch and they have pace," Herbert said.

"Can they bring it to the next level? That's the question and that's why they're here. We want to give them an extended period of time to give them the best shot across the board, because the possibilities (of winning contracts) are there."

"No one is here to make up the numbers. These three players are here for a reason and that is that we believe they have something to offer the team. At the end of the day we want the right players. Hopefully it can be these three guys."

"We've got the option of signing none, one, two or all three. But they have to prove to us that they're ready for the A-League."

Although it is a significant jump from the NZFC to the A-League, Phoenix defender Ben Sigmund's outstanding 2008-09 showed it wasn't impossible and Herbert said it was reasonable that Corrales and Krishna could do the same.

"They've done a good job in the NZFC - I think they've grown past the NZFC. It's whether they've grown enough to be part of the A-League."