7 Oct 2015

Phoenix fume over stadium access

3:44 pm on 7 October 2015

Wellington Phoenix football coach Ernie Merrick is fuming after his side was allowed only a half hour training session on their home ground, Westpac Stadium ahead of Sunday's season opening A-League football match against Newcastle.

With rugby matches to be played on Saturday Merrick says stadium ground staff were adamant the Phoenix could have just 30 minutes preparation on the pitch.

He said that could set their campaign back.

Ernie Merrick is yet to discuss with skipper Andrew Durante the side's disappointing playoff performance.

Phoenix coach Ernie Merrick (left) and skipper Andrew Durante. Photo: Photosport

"No matter how many times we ask (stadium management) we're limited to familiarisation sessions. We get 30 minutes on Westpac and we're the major tenant at this venue, I personally don't understand it,' he said.

"This is our home venue and we're not used to playing on it. There we were today it was a very poor standard (training) game and we just weren't used to the wind, the conditions and the atmosphere in this stadium."

Merrick said they had been told their time on the park was limited as there were rugby matches also being played over the weekend, but the coach questioned just how much damage his players could do.

Meanwhile skipper Andrew Durante sat out training with a minor calf injury, although he was expected to be fit to play on Sunday.

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