Herbert's eye on Phoenix from afar
Thu, 11 Oct 2012 6:47p.m.
By Andrew Gourdie
Coach Ricki Herbert’s All Whites commitments mean he'll miss the Phoenix's trip to Melbourne to face the Heart this weekend, but he still plans to have an influence on the game.
Chris Greenacre was on the receiving end of orders at Phoenix training last season as the team's senior striker.
Now the assistant coach, he's been handed the reigns for their trip to Melbourne, but Herbert's keeping a close eye on his apprentice.
“We'll speak to him today about how today's session’s gone and we'll be in contact throughout the next three or four days with him and even while the game's going ahead,” says Greenacre.
Herbert and the All Whites arrive back from Tahiti on Sunday in time to watch the match and Herbert will be on the phone dishing out instructions .
“We'll keep the dialogue going through that 90 minutes of the game so we can touch base if they answer the phone – they might not want to,” says Greenacre.
Greenacre's not the only rookie stepping up against the Heart. Twenty-one-year-old academy product Luke Rowe's handed a chance at left back in place of Tony Lochhead – one of six All Whites missing from the Phoenix this weekend.
Lochhead says his replacement is up to the job.
“I think he just has to relax and do what he's been doing in training, he's shown he's a good player and I think he'll have a good game this weekend.”
Rowe says Lochhead has been giving him tips.
“Tony's a good guy, he's just tried to give me little pointers and encourage me where possible so he's a good guy – he's a good role model for me.”
With goalkeepers Glen Moss and Mark Paston also on All Whites duty, 18-year-old Scott Basalaj is in contention to fill some big gloves, and he's already provided a push in training.
“Sometimes you need those kids running around to provide that little bit more energy on those cold, wet, windy Wellington mornings,” says Paston.
Louis Fenton's debut against Sydney proved the Phoenix can have faith in the kids to do the job.
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