Powell eager to link up with Barbarouses

Wellington Phoenix's leading goalscorer this season, Blake Powell, said he couldn't wait to work with the club's new signing - A-League star Kosta Barbarouses - next season.


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Powell said the entire squad had been lifted by the recent confirmation of the Barbarouses signing because it showed how serious Phoenix was about chasing titles.

It wasn't so long ago Wellington's future in the competition beyond this season was in doubt because it was waiting to find out whether Football Federation Australia would grant the club a new licence.

But it was granted one and that was soon followed by the signing of Barbarouses and now, Powell, said, Phoenix coach Ernie Merrick is already working on a few things for next season with the team before this season is even finished.

Ninth-placed Wellington are out of the running for the finals, but could still rise one or two places on the table if they put together a run of good results over the last four rounds. They will play Perth Glory at Westpac Stadium on Sunday.

"We just want to end the season as best we can," Powell said. "We're still working on things and Ernie has already tried a couple of things he wants to work on for next year with the players who have re-signed.

"It's just about us familiarising ourselves with the roles he wants us to play and working hard together and trying to end the season with a few wins."

Wellington began this season without their leading goal-scorer from last season, Nathan Burns, and then striker Roy Krishna went down mid-season with an ankle injury. Jeffrey Sarpong, who had been signed to try to help in the goal-scoring department, came up empty.

Their level of firepower was obviously significantly reduced, but Powell has done his best to pick up some of the slack by scoring eight goals in his 19 games, including a memorable four in one game against Western Sydney Wanderers.

"My goal isn't to be leading goal-scorer, but to take one game at a time and help the team in any way I can," Powell said. "If success scoring goals comes with that, then, great.

"I love scoring goals and I'm always looking to score them and I'm pretty happy to be where I am at the moment.

"I want to reach 10 goals before the end of the season. That's my main goal there, but if my first option of going for goal isn't on I'll always look to try to set someone else up. The most important thing is that we try to get a win, no matter who scores the goals."

Barbarouses is such a dynamic player on the right wing, with his speed and brilliant dribbling of the ball, he is bound to significantly increase Wellington's ability to score goals and players like Krishna and Powell should benefit.

"It's a great thing for the club, signing players like Kosta," Powell said. "He's been there and done that, he's won championships and he brings a lot of experience as well as ability with him.

"He's playing in the Asian Champions League with Melbourne Victory right now and becoming an even better player because of that.

"I'm definitely looking forward to playing with him and working with him and learning from him as well.

"Kosta's one big name coming to the club next season and we hope to strengthen our squad with other players as well and when Roy comes back from his injury we'll be better off again.

"The future is looking pretty good and now we really want to finish this season on a high. We don't want to lose any more games from here, we want to close it out strongly."

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4 min read
Published 17 March 2016 at 9:56pm
By Greg Prichard