Football: Phoenix coach Mark Rudan baffled by Kiwi players' apathy

New Wellington Phoenix football coach Mark Rudan admits he's struggled to attract new players to the beleaguered A-League club - even local Kiwi talent.

Since taking the reins in May, the much-travelled former Sydney player has begun to build a roster that can compete against their rivals across the Tasman.

Former Newcastle and England defender Steven Taylor has probably been the biggest pick-up, with Rudan confirming the Phoenix are also chasing Taylor's former EPL teammate Obafemi Martins.

"It's not easy for the Phoenix to make any signing, to be honest, and I can understand why," shrugs Rudan.

"A lot of the players I've spoken to look at Wellington and the past history, and you try to sell them the city and your plans as a coach. You tell them what we're all about and what we want to create this season.

"It hasn't been easy, but it's been worth the work and the players that have come over have certainly bought into what we're doing here."

But Rudan probably never expected his team would be such a hard sell to even New Zealand players, with many declining invitations to trial and others flying the coop to play for Aussie clubs.

"We've got quite a few Kiwi players in the squad currently," he says. "I said from the outset I'm open to bringing in as many as possible, but they've got to want to come as well.

"That's been somewhat disappointing during my discussions with some of them. Being the only professional football club, I would have thought you'd jump at the chance.

"I can't do much more than watch them, assess them and ask them to come in, and the reason I want them to come in is to watch them and their mentality.

"Opinions are subjective, but only when I see the way they operate within our environment - their habits and behaviours - can I make a proper judgment on them."