The Wellington Phoenix are already in finals mode despite there being two more rounds of the A League football season still to play.
The Phoenix play the Central Coast Mariners in Wellington tonight and also have a home game against Sydney FC before the top six playoffs.
They're currently fifth but are already guaranteed a finals berth.
The Phoenix can still finish inside the top two but Merrick says a more realistic goal is third or fourth which would give them a home semi final.
With the finals looming he says that means they're taking a different approach in their last two matches.
"The first 10 minutes will be a lot more cagey than normal [as we] just suss out the opposition and their formation," he said.
"It's not a case of going hell for leather right from the start of the game and leaving ourselves open at the back."