29 Jan 2015

Heat goes on the Phoenix

9:33 am on 29 January 2015

The Wellington Phoenix football coach Ernie Merrick hasn't quite had his side training in a sauna, but it seems the next best thing as they prepare for the heat and humidity of Brisbane.

With almost a month off from A-League football competition due to the Asian Cup break, the Phoenix resume playing on Monday against the Roar in Brisbane.

On Tuesday Merrick was unpopular with his players as he made them train in the Wellington heat in their full tracksuits in a bid to acclimatise for Brisbane, where it's expected to be 30 degrees at kickoff time.

Merrick says players can lose up to four kilogrammes in fluid during a match and it's important they get used to that - although there were a few complaints.

"The worst was Roly Bonavacia, he asked me several times if he could take his tracksuit off and I said 'no, no'... because it becomes a mental thing and it's very, very important that they understand that they need mental fortitude to get through it and then die afterwards."

Phoenix midfielder Roly Bonavacia was unimpressed with Ernie Merrick's 'acclimatisation methods'.

Phoenix midfielder Roly Bonavacia was unimpressed with Ernie Merrick's 'acclimatisation methods'. Photo: Photosport

He jokingly added: " I don't want them to die in the game. They can die afterwards when we've got a result."

Merrick says defender Manny Muscat is in doubt for the match after twisting an ankle when he stood in a pothole during training.

The Phoenix are currently fourth in the competition behind first-placed Perth Glory, second-placed Adelaide and third-placed Melbourne Victory.

However they have a game in hand and could reclaim second place with a win over the Roar.

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