Phoenix eye per­son­nel boost in Jan­uary trans­fer win­dow

Nelson Mail - - Sport - Liam His­lop

Mark Ru­dan will look to add more than just an­other im­port to bol­ster his squad in Jan­uary.

With Fi­jian striker Roy Kr­ishna gain­ing New Zealand cit­i­zen­ship on Thurs­day, the Welling­ton Phoenix coach can add an­other over­seas player to his squad when the trans­fer win­dow opens on Jan­uary 3.

His squad sits at the min­i­mum of 20, so he has three spa­ces he could fill in Jan­uary.

He said he plans to tar­get Ki­wis for those two other spots.

‘‘At the same time that we’re look­ing for a visa player be­cause we’ve got that spot, I haven’t dis­counted, and have been watch­ing, the lo­cal premier­ship as well.

‘‘There are some play­ers there that I’ve been mak­ing a list of who I’d like to bring in in Jan­uary, if they want to come in. I’ll be speak­ing to a few of them.

‘‘So it’s not just about an over­seas player. I’ve been quite im­pressed with some of the lo­cal tal­ent.

‘‘But the A-League is a dif­fer­ent beast and a dif­fer­ent en­vi­ron­ment as well.

‘‘But they’ll be get­ting a phone call some­time soon and there is a cou­ple of weeks break there in the league, so an op­por­tu­nity to have a look at them in our en­vi­ron­ment as well. That process will start very soon.’’

In terms of an im­port, Ru­dan would not di­vulge which po­si­tion of the field they are tar­get­ing, but one would imag­ine the pri­or­ity would be a goal-scorer, given they have scored the fewest goals in the league with four in six matches.

His phone had been run­ning hot since Kr­ishna’s cit­i­zen­ship was an­nounced.

‘‘Since Roy’s news, even more so now, which is great,’’ he said of in­ter­est from agents and other clubs.

The process now would be to go back to their data­base of trans­fer tar­gets and start work­ing their way through that list.

‘‘We’ve been keep­ing tabs on those play­ers in terms of how they’re play­ing week-in, week-out.

‘‘We’ve got a list there al­ready and then through the con­tacts we made we go out to them and say these are the kind of play­ers we’re look­ing for in terms of play­ers and skillsets.

‘‘With­out go­ing into too much de­tail about what po­si­tion or what skillset, the process has started and we’re get­ting feed­back in re­gards to that.

‘‘It’s got to be the right player, the right fit for us and some­one that’s ready to play, more im­por­tantly.’’

The Phoenix still have four more games to nav­i­gate be­fore the trans­fer win­dow opens, start­ing with an away trip to play Syd­ney FC tonight.

They have called in 43-year-old goal­keeper Ante Covic as in­jury cover for Filip Kurto, who is out with con­cus­sion. Covic will backup Oliver Sail, who is 21 years his junior.

Phoenix skip­per An­drew Du­rante knows Covic well, hav­ing won an A-League ti­tle with him at New­cas­tle Jets in 2008.

‘‘He’ll come in to help Oli out,’’ Du­rante said.

‘‘Oli is ob­vi­ously young, so hav­ing an ex­pe­ri­enced head next to him in the warmups and be­fore the game is go­ing to be in­valu­able for him.’’

Ru­dan said Kurto had passed ev­ery con­cus­sion test this week, but they had taken a safety-first ap­proach and de­cided to leave him out of the squad this week­end.

Ru­dan will be with­out sus­pended backup de­fender Ryan Lowry, while Syd­ney FC have wel­comed back Daniel De Silva and Siem de Jong to their squad.

GETTY IM­AGES

Forty-three-year-old goal­keeper Ante Covic has been brought in as in­jury cover for the Phoenix.

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