Crunch time for Wellington Phoenix

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Losing to Sydney FC is something no A-League team should take to heart.

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But by extending Wellinton Phoenix’s winless run to four games, it now appears as if it is do or die for the struggling Kiwis.

Their 3-1 loss compounds the fact that the Phoenix are entering their most challenging fixture list of the season with their next five games will see them play all teams vying for that vital sixth spot.

No one should be counting them out just yet however, because if the Nix have been anything this season it’s erratic.

The worst start in the club’s history, followed by a barnstorming run into the finals positions proceeded the current lack of form.

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There is no other A-League side that can match such inconsistency, and for that reason they are a side nobody should take lightly.

When the same side dismantled Melbourne Victory 3-0 in January, it wasn’t a surprise, just the inevitable falling of puzzle pieces falling into place at the right time.

It was their best performance of the season, though one that they have been hinting at multiple times throughout the season.

Though the pieces haven’t been falling so comfortably in recent weeks, they have a strong chance to make vital points up in the race for the finals positions, a win meaning a loss the teams around them.

A repeat of a performance they are more than capable of replicating would mean a certain win against most A-League opponents.

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But how many points can the Nix realistically look to capture from these coming matches?

A home match against the Glory looks a realistic chance for a phoenix to pick up 3-points, whilst the Jets have also struggled against the Wellingtonians this season.

Difficult away trips to the Roar and Western Sydney make the outlook seem drearier, especially after Des Buckingham insisted his side would pick up 25-points from the 11 remaining games.

That target looks out of reach following back to back losses, though a top six place isn’t out of sight just yet.

Wanderers sit just two-points, and a game in hand ahead in sixth with the Sydney Derby coming up in less than a week.

It is not an insurmountable target, but one that looks further and further away with each loss.

Wellinton Phoenix host Melbourne City at Westpac Stadium next Saturday and with just eight games left it’s beginning to look like a must win.

Featured image credit: Cameron McIntosh

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