Merrick blasts FFA over McGlinchey stalemate

Wellington Phoenix coach Ernie Merrick is "appalled" that Football Federation Australia have yet to make a decision on Michael McGlinchey's contract status.

Following the end of his loan period with Japanese club Vegalta Sendai and the transfer of licence at the Central Coast Mariners, McGlinchey – backed by the Professional Footballers Australia – believed he was a free agent and able to sign for the Phoenix.

But the Mariners have disputed this saying the 27-year-old All Whites midfielder remains contracted to them. The matter has been before the FFA for several weeks now but the governing body has still not made a decision.

"I'm appalled by the lack of speed in decision-making," Merrick said. "To leave him in limbo for this long is totally out of order. I'm hugely disappointed."

McGlinchey, who was born in Wellington, has been training with the Phoenix since July 7 but has been unable to play in any of their pre-season friendlies.

He was ruled out of Wednesday night's 2-1 win over English Premier League club West Ham just hours before kick-off, leaving Merrick extremely frustrated.

"Two hours before kick-off our general manager (David Dome) was trying to organise for him to play but there seems to be no movement on decision-making."

While the McGlinchey saga has left Merrick fuming, his team's performance against the Hammers would have brought a smile to his face.

Goals from skipper Andrew Durante and new signing Alejandro Rodriguez-Gorrin in the first half set up the win before West Ham came back in the second half and grabbed a goal through substitute Mauro Zarate.

"It was a great performance and a terrific result but we have to keep it in context," cautioned Merrick, whose side will face Newcastle United at Westpac Stadium in Wellington on Saturday immediately after Sydney take on West Ham in the first game of the double-header.

"West Ham are a very good team. They are a little bit behind us in preparation and they had far more scoring chances than we had.

"It was a big step in the right direction regarding the way we want to play and the confidence to play that way.

"Holding possession in the midfield was critical and having a rock solid defence was just tremendous.

"We've got to try and back that up. It's going to be very difficult recovering in three days for a game against Newcastle, who after watching them in Dunedin look like they are further down the track than West Ham."