Once the A-League easybeats away from home, a changed mindset has Wellington Phoenix confidently approaching their first match in a challenging Melbourne double-header, striker Paul Ifill says.
Third-placed Phoenix are five points and two places clear of Melbourne Heart but have targeted Friday's match at AAMI Park as must-win with only three games left in the regular season.
The Phoenix turned around their dire record across the Tasman with back-to-back wins over Gold Coast and Newcastle Jets in January, and have since accounted for Adelaide and Sydney away from home.
Ifill says the Phoenix's new resolve away from Wellington has forced a re-think from the Australian sides.
"Probably before, they've looked at the Phoenix coming into town and thought 'here we go - we've got a nice easy three points'.
"So it's good to change their mindset a bit. I think that first away win did that, and it gave us confidence to build," Ifill said.
"To get the second one a week later sort of turns your season around, so we go away full of confidence we can get points on the road again."
Heart's latest two results - a 1-1 draw with second-placed Brisbane Roar and a 1-0 win over leaders Central Coast Mariners - showed they were a team finding form at the right time, Ifill said.
Honours between the two sides this season are even - the Heart beat Wellington 1-0 at Morwell in early December, while the Phoenix came out 3-1 at Westpac Stadium at the end of January.
Ifill is hopeful a more attacking approach from the Phoenix will pay dividends in their third and decisive match.