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By ESPN Staff

Small crowds force Phoenix re-think

Dwindling crowd numbers could force the Wellington Phoenix to shift more games out of the capital, the A-League outfit's co-owner Gareth Morgan warns.

The Phoenix were plagued by ownership uncertainty and a horror injury run at the start of the season in October, but have played their way into third place on the ladder after 18 weeks.

However numbers at Westpac Stadium for home games have yet to top 10,000, generally hovering between 5000-7000 mark.

Morgan said he wanted crowds of 15,000 at every home game and could see no reason why that wasn't possible.

"We're the cheapest tickets in league and the smallest crowd," he said on social networking site Twitter.

"Newcastle is a smaller city, has a worse team and bigger crowds. Welly needs to pick it up."

Morgan said the consortium which took over the Phoenix in October after Terry Serepisos stepped aside would have to look at other options if crowd numbers didn't improve.

The Phoenix have played two home games out of Wellington this season - over 20,000 saw a 1-1 draw against Adelaide United in Auckland in November, while a more modest 4600 watched them down Brisbane Roar 2-0 a month later in Dunedin.

The Phoenix also played the Roar in a warm-up game in the city in August, when the student population boosted numbers to over 15,000.

Last season's match in Christchurch against Adelaide United saw the Phoenix home 2-1 in front of more than 14,000.

The Phoenix are riding high after a club-first two wins on end in Australia - a 1-0 win over Gold Coast on January 15 watched by a dismal 2135, then a 1-0 win over the Jets in front over 11,000 on Friday.

Their next game is against fourth-placed Melbourne Heart at Westpac Stadium on Sunday.


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