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Neumann can expect hostile Phoenix reception

23 February 2013-AAP

A-League Adelaide United Wellington Phoenix

Hostile reception expected ... Jeronimo Neumann (Getty Images)

Adelaide United striker Jeronimo Neumann has been told to expect a torrid time from home fans on Sunday when he fronts up against A-League struggler Wellington Phoenix.

When the two teams met in Adelaide in October, Neumann's two goals in a 3-1 win were overshadowed by allegations of diving in an incident that led to defender Ben Sigmund being sent off and suspended.

Skipper Andrew Durante, who branded the Argentine a cheat at the time, says the Phoenix players let the issue lie in the build-up this week.

But he's pretty sure the fans in Wellington haven't forgotten.

"Hostile, I think," he said of the reception Neumann could expect.

"As a group, we haven't really spoken about that, but I'm sure the 'Yellow Fever' have got a few chants going on for him."

Durante believed there could be a little bit extra in the challenges on the field, but not because of what had happened.

Rather, he said, both teams were desperate for points with just six rounds to go.

Adelaide is fourth on the table and won the two previous encounters this season with Phoenix, both at Hindmarsh Stadium.

However, its momentum has stalled with just one win in its past five matches and none on the road since November.

Phoenix has dropped to last after two successive defeats and has picked up a paltry four points from a possible 24 since the New Year.

Its slim hopes of making the playoffs is likely to rest on an eight-day stretch in which it has three home matches, the first against Adelaide.

"It's a big week," Durante said.

"If we want to be serious about going into these playoffs, then I think it's really got to be at least seven to nine points."

Durante admitted it felt a little weird that a team at the foot of the table at this stage of the season could still harbour playoff ambitions.

But that was just how the competition was set up, with six of the 10 teams going through.

"That's what we hang on to," he said.

"There's always a chance and I guess that's the beauty of the league. I guess it's good, if you're at the bottom."

Keeper Mark Paston is expected to be fit for the match despite sitting out training with illness but Isaka Cernak is likely to miss out with a hip flexor injury.

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