From the Dugout with JvS - Week Nine

With only two points separating seven teams on the Hyundai A-League table, the importance of producing a strong performance every week cannot be understated.

With only two points separating seven teams on the Hyundai A-League table, the importance of producing a strong performance every week cannot be understated.

After the disappointment of last weekend-s match in Gosford, it-s crucial our team moves on and immediately focuses on the challenge presented by the Wellington Phoenix.

The team from New Zealand will certainly provide a tough opponent, having entered a strong vein of form lately, sparked by their impressive 1-1 draw with the undefeated Brisbane Roar at Suncorp Stadium.

Although Wellington suffered an interrupted pre-season, Ricki Herbert-s team have improved substantially in recent weeks, requiring us to produce a strong display if we hope to secure a much needed win.

It will be crucial we attack the Phoenix from the moment the referee sounds his whistle to commence the match, enabling us to draw on the passionate support we hope to receive from the Gippsland football community.

A lack of preparation certainly won-t be an excuse for a poor result as we will travel to Morwell on Saturday, staging a familiarisation session at the venue.

It won-t be a heavy session, but it will enable us to reacquaint ourselves with the surroundings and develop an understanding of the pitch, as the grass is very different to that at AAMI Park.

We are currently in the midst of a gruelling schedule, with four of five matches taking place outside Victoria, making it imperative we are able to overcome the Phoenix.

A positive result will place us in good stead as we look ahead to the challenges of Brisbane Roar and Perth Glory, laying the platform for an assault on the Hyundai A-League Finals Series.