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The Toe Poke
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Phoenix look for boost from new signing

New signing Isaka Cernak won't cure the Phoenix's current A-League woes but coach Ricki Herbert hopes the arrival of a new face will boost the Wellington club as they look to stem a four-match losing streak.

The 23-year-old attacking midfielder is scheduled to arrive in Wellington late on Friday, and Herbert says he's a good chance for a start on Sunday when the Phoenix tackle Newcastle Jets at Westpac Stadium.

The Phoenix languish at the bottom of the A-League ladder with four wins from 17 matches as they struggle to adapt to a new, possession-based style of football.

They've lost their past four games, with increasingly inconsistent performances culminating in last Saturday's 7-1 demolition by Sydney FC across the Tasman.

An Australian under-23 rep, Cernak has made 21 appearances for Melbourne Victory since the start of last season and has also turned out for Brisbane Roar and North Queensland Fury.

Herbert says he'll offer plenty of zest in the struggling midfield.

"He's technically good, he'll be a good presence in the side and he's a new face around the group.

"We've bought him as an attacking midfield player, so hopefully he gets himself forward and into the box. He's probably that little bit more creative, and creates opportunities for other players as well."

Captain Andrew Durante says Cernak is an exciting player, who should add another dimension to the midfield.

"He's more of an attacking midfielder - he can play wide, but I think he's probably better suited to us playing in the middle.

"I'm not saying he's the answer to turning the season around but a fresh face around camp is always nice, and hopefully he can play a part in the weekend."

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