Bertos, Muscat keen for century celebration
Wellington Phoenix duo Leo Bertos and Manny Muscat hope to mark their 100th games for the club with a win against Melbourne Victory on Monday.
Bertos admitted the milestone had come a week earlier than he had expected but that it would be a proud moment when he joined Tim Brown, Daniel, Tony Lochhead and Andrew Durante in the Phoenix 100-club.
"There are only four players who have reached that at the club so far and it's nice to be part of that group," said the Wellington-born right-back.
"It's always nice to get little milestones individually and in a team game as well. But it would be nice to win. You'd put that aside for three points that's for sure.
"Melbourne away has been tough for us the last few years so hopefully this 100th is the bit of good luck and we can roll them."
The Phoenix have never won at either AAMI Park or Ethiad Stadium and in 15 matches against the Victory have notched two wins, six draws and seven losses.
But they head to the Victorian capital this weekend with perhaps the best chance they have ever had of claiming all three points.
Only defender Ben Sigmund (suspended) is missing from Herbert's first-choice starting XI and the fall-out from last weekend's controversial loss to Adelaide United, and the decision not to rescind Sigmund's red card and punish Jeronimo Neumann for diving, will only have galvanised the Wellington side.
Ange Postecoglu's team are languishing bottom of the table with just one win from four games this season. They have scored four goals but conceded 10 as they look to adjust to the possession-based style of game the former title-winning Brisbane Roar coach wants them to play.
It was an improved performance against the Newcastle Jets last time out, although they lost, and Bertos remains wary.
"They've got a brand of football that they are still trying to play there that's not come right yet," he said.
"Hopefully it doesn't come right against us. But Ange's record speaks for itself. The last couple of years (he's coached) champions.
"We do have to be wary. They've got players that are very good attacking and who can create opportunities and score goals from nothing.
"We really do have to make sure we're on our game. We have to concentrate and not let them have any chances."
Former Phoenix youngster Marco Rojas, Brazillian Gui Finkler, Marcos Flores and Archie Thompson are the big attacking threats.
"Marco has been doing really well. He's started really well and scored a few goals," Bertos said.
"Flores, he was the player of the year two years ago, so he's a talent. They've got a number of players – Archie as well. We've got to watch out for him because he's lethal.
"We can't underestimate them. They might have had a bad start but it's game by game in this league and anything can happen on the day. We've got to make sure we turn up, do our jobs and we should be fine."
But there have been cracks in the Victory defence which Bertos hopes Paul Ifill, Louis Fenton and Jeremy Brockie can exploit.
"From the games that we've watched so far this season a lot of teams have been putting them under pressure," said the Phoenix fullback.
"They do like to keep the ball really well and then take risks at the back. A lot of teams have been keeping them under pressure and putting them under pressure constantly and forcing mistakes.
"That's something we've got to try and emulate as well because it's been working."