A-League: Wellington Phoenix rookie Clayton Lewis hoping to continue to soar under coach Ufuk Talay

Growing up in the capital, Clayton Lewis always hoped one day he could run out at home wearing Wellington Phoenix colours.

Now he's just a few weeks away from achieving that dream, as the Phoenix prepare to return from their base across the Tasman.

Because of the A-League's relocation to Australia, Lewis is yet to play a game in New Zealand.

But on May 22, that will change, when the Phoenix take on Western United at Sky Stadium and the St Patrick’s College old boy couldn’t be happier. 

"To be able to play in front of friends and family I grew up with is going to be a massive deal for me," Lewis tells Newshub. 

"To play for the Phoenix - my home club - is an amazing feeling and I just can't wait to get home."

The 24-year-old is off contract at the end of this season, but is desperate to stay with the 'Nix and join manager Ufuk Talay - who is also off-contract - in recommitting to the capital club. 

"I'd love to stay here," says Lewis. "I'm enjoying it. 

"Depending on who the coach is - that will be a big thing for me.

“If I can stay here and if Ufuk [Talay] stays too, that'll be crucial for me. I'm enjoying working under him at the moment."

With the Phoenix on the cusp of the top six, they'll take on Adelaide United on Friday, when they hope for a repeat dose of their victory against the South Australians two weeks ago.

"Every game is basically a Grand Final now, so it's a must-win for us," Lewis admits.

Friday’s match and their clash with Melbourne City next Sunday are both crucial to building momentum into their first match in New Zealand in more than a year. 

"We need to make sure we keep these results coming - stay unbeaten if we can - before we come back," Lewis notes.

"It's going to be amazing, I think the fans deserve that - I think, how we've been over here, we all deserve it too."

Since his arrival from Kiwi powerhouses Auckland City at the start of the season, Lewis has become one of Talay's go-to performers in the midfield and fans will hope that continues beyond the 2021 season. 

"I came back [to New Zealand] to get the love for football again and I managed to do that. Now that I'm here, I'm enjoying every minute of it."