18 Dec 2016

New coach to rise from Phoenix ashes

2:17 pm on 18 December 2016

With a win and a draw under their belts, the Wellington Phoenix interim co-managers Chris Greenacre and Des Buckingham are in the running for a permanent appointment.

Des Buckingham (L) and Chris Greenacre

Des Buckingham (L) and Chris Greenacre Photo: Photosport

The pair oversaw just their second game on Saturday night since taking over from Ernie Merrick, a rollercoaster 2-2 draw with the Western Sydney Wanderers in Auckland.

Both have been linked with the vacant Nix role, as a pair and individually, but will retain their interim status until next week's clash with the Newcastle Jets at least.

A number of Australian options including Mark Rudan, Chris Taylor and Luciano Trani are also thought to be on the table, as well as Auckland City boss Ramon Tribulietx.

Auckland have qualified for the FIFA Club World Cup five times since Tribulietx took the reigns in 2010, wining bronze in 2014.

The 44-year-old Catalonian served as a technical advisor to Solomon Islands this year and for the Canada women's team which won bronze at the 2012 Olympics.

Long touted as capable of stepping up to the A-League, Tribulietx nurtured the talents of Roy Krishna and Albert Riera in Auckland's ranks before they were selected by the Phoenix.

Wellington's thrift conscious owners could well take a punt on the Auckland coach but could also show loyalty to the 38-year-old former Nix player Greenacre.

Auckland City FC coach Ramon Tribulietx

Auckland City FC coach Ramon Tribulietx Photo: Supplied

Despite an unimpressive record during his three seasons in charge, it seems likely Merrick jumped rather than being pushed out by the owners, who knew they had equipped him with a less than impressive roster.

In the meantime, co-coach Buckingham told reporters the job-sharing role was working well with the two coaches on the same page tactically.

But the duo may be spending just a little too much time together.

"We sat and had breakfast at the hotel yesterday, Chris and I sitting over one side and Lynsey, his wife, and his daughter sitting over the other side," Buckingham said.

"It might cause a divorce!"

Greenacre said he and Buckingham would continue to take matters game by game until a permanent coach was announced.

Preparation for next Saturday's match in Newcastle would begin first thing on Sunday as the Nix look to break into the top six.

"If decisions are made above our heads, so be it, they'll be for the right reasons for the football club," Greenacre said.


Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs

We have regular online commentary of local and international sport.