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Herbert delighted with Hernandez capture

14 February 2013 05:36

Wellington Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert doesn't believe it will take Carlos Hernandez long to become a firm favourite with the club's fans.

The Costa Rican has signed a two-year deal to return to the A-League once his contract with Indian I-League club Prayag United ends in June.

The former Melbourne Victory player was voted the A-League player of the year in the 2009/10 season and scored some spectacular goals during his five seasons in Victoria.

Phoenix goalkeeper Glen Moss, who was a Victory team-mate during the 2009/10 campaign, admitted he was surprised Hernandez had chosen to sign for Wellington given the options the 30-year-old would have had, but declared it was 'an amazing signing'.

That sentiment was echoed by Herbert, who revealed the deal had been a long time in the making.

"I'm personally delighted. I think he will be a huge acquisition to the club," said the coach.

"Just to consider Wellington I think would have been a big thing for him. But to actually sign and commit to it is a clear indication of what people are about.

"I think he'll be terrific and I don't think it will take too long for him to become a fan favourite really."

Despite the buzz generated by Hernandez's signing, the Phoenix still have plenty of work to do if they are salvage anything from this season - starting with a trip to Brisbane on Sunday.

After last Thursday's embarrassing 5-0 thrashing at Central Coast ,Herbert has called for the players to show some pride and fight in the remaining weeks.

Defender Ben Sigmund, who missed that defeat through suspension, has never been lacking on either front and stressed it was up to individuals to start taking responsibility.

"It's about everyone doing their job," said the New Zealand international. "Even though it's a team sport if you individually do your job you're going to win games.

"Looking around the dressing room everyone knows we need to lift another 10, 20 percent to start even competing for winning a football game.

"I think it's important that everyone holds their heads high and finishes these seven games with pride and passion."

Brisbane's preparations have been complicated by Wednesday night's AFC Champions League playoff qualifier in Thailand which they lost on penalties to Buriram.

The Roar are just one point and one spot above the ninth-placed Phoenix on the A-League ladder. Both remain in the hunt for a top-six place.

While Sigmund hoped the trip would leave the Roar players feeling tired for Sunday's clash at Suncorp, he still expected them to be a difficult proposition.

"It will be tough for them but they will be at home and they will be up for it," said the defender.

"They are in the same situation as us. They've only got one more point than us. They'll be hurting and they will be desperate for the three points.

"Everyone who's been in the game long enough knows it's a six-pointer and it's very, very important.

"It would be nice to leapfrog them and then focus on the next group of people that we're chasing."

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A-League table

# Team MP D P
1 0 +0 0
2 0 +0 0
3 0 +0 0
4 0 +0 0
5 0 +0 0
6 0 +0 0
7 0 +0 0
8 0 +0 0
9 0 +0 0
10 0 +0 0

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