Football: Wellington Phoenix call on fans to fill stands for first home A-League fixtures in more than a year

The Wellington Phoenix have challenged football fans to welcome back the squad in record style as their A-League season winds down.

The Phoenix will play two of their final four games at home - the first time they will play in New Zealand in over a year.

Wellington's Sky Stadium will play host when the Nix take on Western United on May 22, before Perth Glory ends the season at Eden Park on May 30.

More than 11,000 tickets have already been sold for next Saturday nights clash in the Capital, but chairman Rob Morrison has sent a call to arms to supporters.

Morrison has even set sight on a goal to break the one-match attendance record for A-League fixtures this season, currently 20,336 for Sydney FC's local derby against Western Sydney Wanderers earlier this month.

"The opportunity to bring the games back here and get some backing from supporters is really important for us and really important to the club," Morrison says.

"We’re really hopeful that Wellington – and then Auckland – will get behind us. 

"It’s a one-off chance for the fans, for football supporters, and people who appreciate the Phoenix being around, to give us a hand.

"It's an opportunity for people to stand up and be counted and go ‘Yep, we like the Phoenix. Yes, there are other things we could be doing, but this is a one-off.’ 

"It’s not a big imposition, it’s an easy time for people to get to the ground, bring their families along and 20,000 should be an achievable target."

The economic reality of relocating the team to Australia for the COVID-19 affected competition, both this season and last, will be felt for years to come by the club.

While the club is used to running at an annual loss of close to NZ$1million, the pandemic has tripled that over the course of the 433 days since the team last played in Wellington.

Morrison says without the financial aid provided from Sport New Zealand and the Government, the club would have folded.

"It is truly expensive. 

"Rugby has done a fantastic job in terms of their ability to run their competition here, but they have got five professional franchises. 

"Ourselves, the Breakers and the Warriors, we can’t play in New Zealand because there’s no one to play, so to relocate over there has financially hurt the club.

"Games like this in Wellington and Auckland help to redress some of the balance. It won’t be all of the balance, but it’s certainly helpful."

And the Phoenix will need the support from fans as they continue a late push for finals football.

Still an outside shot at making the top six, the Phoenix are undefeated in their last five games to sit ninth on the ladder with four games to play.

Brisbane Roar currently clings on to the converted sixth spot - a game in hand and four points above the Kiwi club.

Four wins would likely push the Phoenix into the finals, but anything less and results would need to fall in their favour.

The play table-topping Melbourne City on Saturday at AAMI Park.