Tue, 25 July 2017
Last Updated: Tue, 25 Jul 2017 6am
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Smeltz wary of Krishna effect for Fiji

WELLINGTON, (NZN) - Fijian flyer Roy Krishna is a familiar but real danger, warns All Whites striker Shane Smeltz.

Prolific Wellington Phoenix goalscorer Krishna will be firmly on New Zealand's radar when the nations meet in twin World Cup qualifying games over the next week.

Clubmate Smeltz knows better than anyone how Krishna's pace and vision can unlock a defence, with the Fijian's A-League goal tally this season of 11 is more than double any other Phoenix player.

Smeltz reckons the All Whites will be well versed on those methods before the first match in Lautoka on Saturday.

"I think we're concentrating on Fiji as a whole but obviously we know Roy," Smeltz said.

"We know his strengths and he's certainly one of their key players so it's a good thing that we've worked with him week in, week out.

"A lot of us boys and we know him but I don't think there will be any sort of mateship out there once we cross that line."

Smeltz, 35, has been solid but unspectacular since joining the Phoenix mid-season.

However, it was enough to earn a recall from coach Anthony Hudson, who has used Smeltz only once during his three years in charge.

The centre forward scored a goal in the 1-1 draw against Myanmar in 2015, lifting his international record to an impressive 24 goals from 51 games.

Smeltz believes the All Whites can lift to a new level under Hudson.

"The whole set up in terms of professionalism - we've raised the bar," he said.

"We're constantly trying to improve every day at training and hopefully that's going to show in the performances as well."

Smeltz may be hard-pushed to win a starting role, with English Championship division striker Chris Wood a certainty to be the attacking spearhead.

Wood has been in sparkling form for Leeds United and is New Zealand's captain following the injury to Winston Reid.


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