Phoenix welcome Adelaide challenge

Wellington Phoenix midfielder Tim Brown is not daunted by the trip to table-toppers Adelaide United and believes it has actually come at a good time for his side.

Wellington Phoenix midfielder Tim Brown is not daunted by the trip to table-toppers Adelaide United and believes it has actually come at a good time for his side.

The Phoenix have struggled for consistency this season and find themselves in a mid-table logjam after their 2-2 draw at home to Melbourne Heart last weekend.

Their away form – where they have taken just one point from five matches – is a far cry from what they have produced at Westpac Stadium where three wins and two draws so far this year have helped them to a record 24 games undefeated at the venue.

They had a mixed night against Heart. They started strongly with an early goal for striker Chris Greenacre but, as they have been prone to do, they conceded two soft goals and needed a 59th strike from Leo Bertos to earn them a share of the spoils.

But Brown believed that match was perhaps a watershed moment for the team.

“My gut feeling is that I think it could be a turning point for us,” the New Zealand midfielder said.

“In the first half we started well, like we always seem to do, and then we conceded a couple of soft goals which is maybe a little bit reflective of a little bit of a lack of confidence, a little bit of a lack of belief.”

“But I thought the second half we came together and fought back really well and, while I think at times it probably wasn’t pretty, there was character shown.”

“I think it could be one of those moments where we look back and think that was a bit of a turning point.”

“We’ve got a massive challenge this week but it’s come at a great time for us.”

The trip to Hindmarsh Stadium is certainly a formidable one for the sixth-placed Phoenix.

After finishing 10th last season the Reds have started the 2010/11 Hyundai A-League season strongly. They have yet to taste defeat and sit six points clear at the top of the table.

They also lead the goal-scoring tally with 17, with Mathew Leckie and Sergio van Dijk on four apiece, and have conceded just nine.

“It’s a tough place to go and it’s a tough place to go when you’re playing a team that is unbeaten and top of the league,” conceded Brown.

“Even last year when you played them and they were really good, you felt they were just missing something – whether it was one player or just five percent of mental toughness.”

“I just think they’ve come right and they are doing really well and it doesn’t really surprise me (they are top) because of the quality of players they have.”

Brown had to deal with his fair share of criticism at the start of the season with many suggesting he was suffering from a World Cup hangover despite not playing in any of the All Whites matches in South Africa.

The hard-working midfielder believes that criticism was a little off the mark.

“I’m usually as hard on myself as anyone and I felt there was maybe one off game. I felt it (the criticism) was maybe a little bit undue at the time really and a bit of a beat up,” he said. “It was one little column and it turned into a bigger thing.”

“There’s been a couple of games where I’ve been a bit disappointed in myself but I’ve been doing my job.”

“Maybe I haven’t scored the goals and that’s what everyone’s been referring too but that’s not an easy thing to do from midfield. I’ll just keep getting in the box and I’ll get my chances.”

“I think there is more to it than putting the ball in the net for me. I think there are a whole lot of other things that I’m doing and I feel reasonably comfortable with how that’s going.”