1 Dec 2010

Durante says Phoenix motivated against Sydney

6:49 am on 1 December 2010

The Phoenix captain Andrew Durante says his team already has plenty of motivation to try and get one over on Sydney FC tonight without recalling the controversy of the two teams' previous encounter at the Sydney Football Stadium.

The Phoenix were beaten 4-2 by the Sky Blues in last season's preliminary final at the SFS - the controversy coming when striker Chris Payne put his side ahead on the stroke of halftime by blatantly punching the ball into the visitors' goal.

Durante, who scored his first and to date only goal in the A-League in that match, says the Phoenix don't need to draw on the bitterness of that result to inspire them in Wednesday's big clash.

The Phoenix have already beaten Sydney 2-1 in Wellington this season but the hosts will prove a much tougher proposition on their own turf.

Wellington have, by their own high standards, not played to their full ability so far this season but there have been extremely promising signs in the past two matches in particular - a 2-nil win against Melbourne Heart and a thrilling 2-all draw with Melbourne Victory.

Phoenix head coach Ricki Herbert has also strived for consistency in his selections in recent times, although he will be missing regular starter Leo Bertos (groin) in Sydney.

Defender Ben Sigmund returns from suspension to bolster the Phoenix defence, while young midfielder Marco Rojas could get more game-time following his impressive cameo off the bench against the Victory.

Debutant James Musa, who performed admirably in difficult circumstances against the Victory, has also made the trip across the Tasman.