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Prem Forecaster: The relegation race

Premier League

Herbert confident players will be fit

New Zealand and Wellington Phoenix boss Ricki Herbert says he has no plans to send his club players out on loan ahead of the World Cup.

Herbert is in charge of the A-League's New Zealand representatives and, with the league ending on March 20, there is real concern that his players will lack match sharpness in South Africa.

However, Herbert plans to put the players through a fitness camp and, with a five-game pre-tournament planned, he believes temporary moves are unnecessary.

"I probably won't loan out Phoenix players," Herbert told Sunday News. "I'll try to get them on some sort of camp.

"We're waiting on the national team programme as there may be some action in April, so if we can put a programme together that supports what they need then there's no need for them to go on loan."

Herbert has suggested, though, that Gold Coast United striker Shane Smeltz should consider a move away.

"Shane's playing well," he said. "I would think he'd go to a bigger club or a stronger league. If something in a bigger and better league comes, that can only be good for him. There are a lot of possibilities."


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