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It is business as usual for head coach Ricki Herbert and the Wellington Phoenix, despite uncertainty as to whether the Hyundai A-League game against Gold Coast United will take place on Sunday at Westpac Stadium.
With Gold Coast owner Clive Palmer having had his licence revoked by Football Federation Australia on Wednesday, the FFA is making every effort to ensure Gold Coast complete their final four fixtures of the season.
A-League chief Lyall Gorman is confident agreement can be reached with the Gold Coast players to meet that aim, but whether it comes in time for Sunday’s game to go ahead remains to be seen.
Herbert, who took an early flight from Auckland after the All Whites 2-3 loss to Jamaica on Wednesday night to be at Phoenix training today, said so far as he was concerned the game is still on.
“Our intention is that the league will continue as normal and we look forward to hosting the Gold Coast on Sunday,” Herbert said.
“It has to be business as usual so far as training and associated matters are concerned because this (Gold Coast’s problems) is out of our control.
“The New Zealand players will be back (in training) tomorrow so we will be back to a full squad.”
Herbert said his team has been on a good run lately (five wins in seven games, including four out of five on the road) and he was keen to keep the momentum going.
“Another reason why we want the game played on schedule is that we have a pretty tough run in and it wouldn’t help if we had to fit this fixture in later on,” he said.
“But if that is what we have to do then we will just get on with it.”
All players involved in last week’s win over Sydney FC will be available for the weekend, with Cameron Lindsay, who returns from international duty with the New Zealand under-23 side, returning to the squad as well.