Wellington defender James McGarry insists there won’t be any extra spice when the Phoenix confront their former star Ulises Davila on Sunday.
Davila was a standout during his two-year stint at Wellington, with the Phoenix putting forward the single biggest offer in the club’s history in a bid to retain him.
But the efforts were in vain, with Davila in July signing for Macarthur FC on a three-year deal.
Although the Phoenix finished seventh last season, Davila’s form was so good he shared the Johnny Warren medal as the A-League Men’s best player alongside Sydney FC star Milos Ninkovic.
Davila has been named captain of Macarthur, and the attacking midfielder will confront his former Wellington teammates at Campbelltown Stadium.
McGarry played down talk of there being any extra motivation for his side.
“It’s a game of football at the end of the day, and we want to win,” he said.
“He was a great player on and off the field for us but when it comes to the day … we just want to get the three points.”
Davila scored seven goals and provided seven assists in 23 games last season.
McGarry said it was vital to keep a close check on the 30-year-old Mexican.
“He’s one of the best players in the league,” McGarry said.
“It’s kind of good we played with him, so we know his strengths and weaknesses.
“We have to shut him down and make sure he doesn’t have too much time in and around the box, because he’s got a great finish on him.
“We’ve kind of got to use his strengths a little bit against him and not let him have the balls in the places he wants to have them.”
The loss of Davila, Israeli Tomer Hemed (Western Sydney Wanderers), and Steven Taylor (retired) has left major holes in Wellington’s squad.
Although McGarry is excited to see what injury-prone midfielder Reno Piscopo can produce this season.
“If he can keep himself fit, it’s onwards and upwards for him,” McGarry said.
“He’s going to score more goals and get more assists.
“What we saw last season, it’s only a snippet of what he can do.”