11 Apr 2014

Merrick laments poor discipline, injury toll

5:59 pm on 11 April 2014

The Wellington Phoenix coach Ernie Merrick is lamenting his side's poor discipline and a horror injury run as his side battles to avoid the A-League wooden spoon for a second straight year.

The Phoenix are currently ninth in the ten team competition and play the Melbourne Victory in their final game on Saturday evening in Wellington.

If they lose and the bottom-placed Melbourne Heart win their last game, the Phoenix will finish last just as they did last season under Ricki Herbert.

Merrick, the most successful coach in the A-League competition, is taking the blame but says there are contributing factors.

He says the side continues to shoot itself in the foot with ill discipline, singling out Manny Muscat, Ben Sigmund and Michael Boxall as continually getting yellow cards, which lead to suspensions.

Injuries to key players such as Paul Ifill and Albert Riera have also had a major impact with Merrick saying he's never known a season like it in 35 years of coaching.