After finishing ninth in a hugely underwhelming 2015/16 Hyundai A-League campaign, Wellington Phoenix have added two acquisitions of elite quality as they prepare to kick off the new season in Campbelltown on Tuesday night.
KICK-OFF: Western Sydney Wanderers v Wellington Phoenix. 8pm at Campbelltown Stadium
For the second year running the NRMA Insurance Western Sydney Wanderers will begin their season playing in the Westfield FFA Cup in the heart of Western Sydney.
Tony Popovic’s men needed a late goal from Golgol Mebrahtu to edge Brisbane Roar 1-0 in Penrith last season before eventually going out of the tournament on penalties to Perth Glory in the quarter finals.
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And after exiting the Westfield FFA Cup in the Round of 32 the year before, the Red & Black will look to prolong their stay in the competition a little longer this time around as they hunt the first silverware of the new campaign.
It won’t be easy against a Wellington side who have historically caused the Wanderers problems in Western Sydney.
Ernie Merrick’s side produced one of the standout results of last season when the Blake Powell-inspired Phoenix hammered the Wanderers 5-2 in Round 19.
Following a frustratingly lacklustre showing last campaign, Merrick’s men showed they mean business this year after announcing the signing of Melbourne Victory duo Kosta Barbarouses and Gui Finkler.
The two acquisitions have bolstered Merrick’s squad considerably and the Yellows will no doubt be eager to begin what should be an ambitious season on the right note.
Online Broadcast: Streamed online at www.foxsports.com.au/football/ffa-cup/ffacupondemand and Apple TV via FOX SPORTS Now
Radio Broadcast: Hawkesbury Radio 89.9FM or online at hawkesburyradio.com.au
Wellington Phoenix 2016/17
In: Kosta Barbarouses (Melbourne Victory), Gui Finkler (Melbourne Victory)
Out: Albert Riera (Retired), Ben Sigmund (Retired), Blake Powell (Central Coast Mariners), Kwabena Appiah (Central Coast Mariners), Manny Muscat (Melbourne City), James McGarry (Wellington United), Oliver Sail (Wellington United), Justin Gulley (Wellington United), Troy Danaskos (unattached)
28 June 2016 – Wellington Phoenix 3-1 Wairarapa United
5 July 2016 – Wellington Phoenix 5-1 Stop Out
12 July 2016 – Wellington Phoenix 7-1 Miramar Rangers
27 July 2016 – Wellington Phoenix 2-1 Beijing BG