March 05, 2015 09:12:50 UK
Ernie Merrick has signed a three-year contract extension to coach Wellington Phoenix, saying he was delighted to re-commit to the club as they chase the A-League premiership.
The 62-year-old Scotsman and his assistant Chris Greenacre have both inked new deals that will take them through to the end of the 2017-18 season.
Merrick has just a 36 per cent win record since taking over from Ricki Herbert in 2013, but the club have found good form this season.
We have something special here in Wellington and I want to continue to be a part of it, I appreciate the opportunity I have been given by the board.
They are just three points off leaders Perth Glory as they host fellow premiership-rivals Adelaide United at Lower Hutt on Saturday where they are 2.60.
Wellington are one of three teams to have won a league-high 10 games this term, after winning only seven in the whole of last season.
Merrick said it was an easy decision for him to sign a new deal as he felt the club was stable, financially sound and ambitious.
“We have something special here in Wellington and I want to continue to be a part of it,” he added. “I appreciate the opportunity I have been given by the board.
“The energetic staff are great to work with and we have a great squad of players. The brand of football we are playing is a credit to the players, and the young guns coming through our reserve team and Academy will add to the attacking flair.”
Chairman Rob Morrison said Merrick and Greenacre’s signings were significant for the club’s long-term future.
Morrison said of Merrick: “His influence throughout the club has been immense, so keeping Ernie at the club was a priority for the board and having done so we all look forward to exciting times ahead, not least of which is the run into the finals this season.”
The Phoenix, who beat second-placed Melbourne Victory 3-2 away last weekend, face an Adelaide side who they beat 3-1 at Coopers Stadium on New Year’s Eve during their four-game win streak.
Wellington are 8.00 to win the Grand Final.
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