Football 8 months ago

Smeltz calls on A-League to change fixture

  • Smeltz calls on A-League to change fixture

    SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 26: Shane Smeltz of Sydney FC runs with the ball during the round eight A-League match between Sydney FC and Wellington Phoenix at Allianz Stadium on November 26, 2015 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Brett Hemmings/Getty Images)

Wellington Phoenix striker Shane Smeltz has called on the FFA to reschedule his side's round 24 clash with Newcastle.

The March 26 fixture in Wellington is scheduled just 24 hours after New Zealand's All Whites play Fiji in a crucial World Cup qualifier in Lautoka.

It also falls just two days before the return leg in the Kiwi capital.

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Many of the Phoenix's key players, including Kosta Barbarouses, Andrew Durante, Glen Moss and potentially Smeltz, will be forced to miss the Jets match.

In-form winger Roy Krishna will also captain Fiji.

Newcastle, meanwhile, are extremely unlikely to have any of their players called up for Socceroos duty in March qualifiers against Iran and UAE.

"I don't know how the game's going ahead with the number of (our) players that are missing," the 35-year-old Smeltz said.

"For me it's an easy one - you just reschedule the game."

The Newcastle match takes on added significance for the Nix by the two sides' proximity on the A-League ladder, sitting just one point apart at the end of round 22.

A win against the Jets would give seventh-placed Wellington's finals aspirations a considerable boost, while defeat would almost certainly spell finals failure.

The club has requested a date change with the FFA, according to Smeltz, but is yet to receive a response.

All Whites boss Anthony Hudson confirmed on Sunday he would take his strongest possible squad to Fiji, where they will be runaway favourites.

Smeltz hoped he could wriggle his way back into the squad for the home-and-away fixtures, having not played for his country since September 2015.

A seat on the plane for this year's Confederations Cup in Russia also beckons.

"For me it's about focusing each week and playing the best I can and if I tick those boxes then there's no reason I can't be in the squad," the 51-capped Kiwi said.

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