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Wellington coach Mark Rudan takes aim at 'disrespectful' Newcastle boss Ernie Merrick

Newcastle coach Ernie Merrick may have earned another A-League foe after Wellington boss Mark Rudan labelled a critique of his side's structure disrespectful on Thursday.

The Phoenix have started the season admirably, with a win, a draw and a loss positioning them mid-table ahead of Friday's clash with Melbourne City. But Rudan's defensive 5-2-3 system has still come under fire, with Merrick -- himself a former boss of the Phoenix -- doubting its merits when the side concedes an early goal.


Steven Taylor hits out at Wellington Phoenix's detractors: 'We relish this'

FFA Head of Leagues Craig O'Rourke says plans to expand the A-League are very much on target, but only if the incoming Football Federation Australia board can pick the two successful bids before the end of January.

One loss won't be enough to dent Wellington's new-found confidence, with recruit Steven Taylor happy to poke the bear ahead of their clash with Melbourne City on Friday.

The Phoenix's 3-0 loss to the previously winless Western Sydney last Saturday has left them with a win, draw and a loss so far this A-League season.

Widely tipped for the wooden spoon and with pressure on the club to retain their place in an expanded competition beyond 2019, Taylor acknowledged that their first loss had provided...