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Leagues: A-League

Phoenix hand reins to Buckingham and Greenacre

Wellington (AFP) – Former Manchester City striker Chris Greenacre and Oxford United coach Des Buckingham were Monday confirmed as coaches of the Wellington Phoenix for the remainder of the 2016-17 A-League season. 

The pair have guided the Phoenix to one win and three draws while temporarily in charge since Ernie Merrick resigned four weeks ago and have lifted the club from last to eighth place in the 10-team competition.

Under the Football Federation of Australia regulations Buckingham, as the holder of a Pro Licence, will be head coach and Greenacre, who has an A Licence, will be co-coach. 

Buckingham said he was looking forward to the challenge. 

“I still think this team is capable of making the top four which was our aim at the start of the season,” he said. 

“It is good that we have gone four games unbeaten, which I’ve been told hasn’t happened since February 2015, but we could have won all three with a bit of luck.”

Greenacre, who played for Manchester City and Tranmere Rovers before moving to New Zealand to play 84 games for the Phoenix, said he was pleased to have the coaching situation decided. 

“To lose our mentor was tough but that is the nature of the game of football and it has presented us with a fantastic challenge and life is all about challenges”, he said.

Phoenix chairman Rob Morrison said the club interviewed a number of candidates before settling on Buckingham and Greenacre.

“We have a really good squad and Des and Chris impressed with their views on what needed to change and how to get the best from the squad,” he said.

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