A-League: Wanderers to host ‘disrespected’ Wellington

Phoenix assistant coach Adam Griffiths’ “inside” knowledge of Western Sydney has Wanderers boss Marko Rudan wary of a Wellington ambush on Sunday.

Griffiths was part of Rudan’s coaching staff last season before making the move to work new Phoenix mentor Giancarlo Italiano.

“He’ll probably know a few little inside things,” Rudan said of Griffiths ahead of the CommBank Stadium opening-round clash.

“We’ve change quite a bit in the way we do things but he does some insight into our players and our style.

“Set pieces, all the dead-ball situations – we’re very detailed in the way we do things, and the detail is very important.

“We’ve changed … but he’ll know how I think and how I prepare.”

Apart from the Griffiths’ factor, the Phoenix will also be fuelled by a desire to prove their critics wrong.

Following the departure of former coach Ufuk Talay, few give Wellington hope of playing A-League finals football for a fourth time in five seasons, instead believing the Phoenix are destined to be in a battle to avoid the wooden spoon.

Such talk doesn’t sit well with Italiano.

“(Talk of) finishing last is something that will fuel all the players,” Wellington’s coach said.

“I wouldn’t say it’s offensive, but I would say it’s very disrespectful, especially with the quality we have in the squad with the foreigners and also the good young players coming through who have played a lot of international games at youth level.

“We’ve got experience and we’ve got good firepower so if we can be consistent in what we’re doing and believe in how we’re trying to play, I think the results will come.”

Rudan, whose first A-League coaching job was with the Phoenix, won’t make the mistake of underestimating the opposition on Sunday.

“It’s a very good club, Wellington. They’ve got a plan in place, all the time,” Rudan said.

“He (Italiano) has changed the system somewhat from what we’ve seen but we’re expecting a really tough game.

“The expectation on us at home is to go out there and perform but we respect them greatly.”

Rudan was hopeful that Socceroos forward Brandon Borrello would be right to start after arriving back in Sydney on Thursday night from international duty in England.

“He was on the training paddock (on Friday morning) and wanted to be involved in all of it. We had to pull him way,” Rudan said.

“He’s eager to get going on Sunday but I’ll make a decision on him probably on game day as to what part he plays in the game.”

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