29 Apr 2015

Phoenix penalty takers given the boot

6:33 am on 29 April 2015

The Wellington Phoenix coach Ernie Merrick is to give his penalty takers the boot ahead of their A-League elimination final against Melbourne City on Sunday.

Penalty taking has been a major weakness for the Phoenix this season with both Nathan Burns and Roli Bonevacia having costly misses from the spot in recent weeks.

Coach Ernie Merrick has let his players decide who'll step up to take penalties is set to designate Michael McGlinchey and Albert Riera.

Eyes on the prize - Ernie Merrick and Michael McGlinchey eye up the A-League trophy.

Eyes on the prize - Ernie Merrick and Michael McGlinchey eye up the A-League trophy. Photo: RNZ / Stephen Hewson

"You can never replicate the stress of taking a penalty in training so you've got to look at the character. Mikey's got character and we've got a couple of others that are very good but sometimes they're not quick in putting their hands up," he said.

"Albert's pretty similar to Mikey, 'cool, calm and collected'. He never misses a penalty at training but he's not one to push himself forward to take it, so we're going to discuss that."

Meanwhile the Melbourne City midfielder Erik Paartalu says increased intensity in training can only be a good thing ahead of their A-League final against Wellington.

City lost in their concluding two weeks of the home-and-away season in "pathetic" displays according to the imposing midfielder.

But with a knockout final awaiting City on Sunday, their players lifted their effort in a tough open training session on Tuesday.

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