Durante dismisses Rudan speculation after Phoenix coach's confession

Andrew Durante insists speculation over Mark Rudan’s future will not deter Wellington Phoenix’s assault on the Hyundai A-League top four.

Doubts over the 43-year-old’s future at the New Zealand capital were stirred after Rudan confirmed the struggle of living away from his Sydney-based wife and two teenage sons to Radio Sport on Thursday.

The former Sydney FC Championship-winning captain also revealed he would be prepared to take a year off coaching next season than continue to live away from his family.

But Durante, the bedrock of Rudan’s Phoenix renaissance this campaign, says the Kiwi outfit are refusing to be distracted by the conjecture.

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“To be honest at the moment that’s not really my concern,” Durante said when pressed about Rudan’s future.

“My concern is this season and at the moment he’s the head coach of the Wellington Phoenix.

“We’ve got an almighty battle ahead of us until the end of the season to make these playoffs.

“That’s all I’m focused on. I know the media are always after some more stories and scoops but I don’t have answers for that.

“All I have answers for is that the boys are ready, we understand the significance this game on Saturday and how important it is to get that fourth spot and potentially a home final.

“We’ve worked ever so hard this week to make sure we’re focused on that.

Mark Rudan

“We’re players – we get paid to play. We get paid to train and that’s what we can control, we can control how well we do out there, what we do on the weekend and that’s all we do.

“Whatever happens externally with the coach or the owner or whatever it is, that will sort itself out.

“That’s not for us to comment on or to talk about.”

Durante and the Phoenix have a great chance to get back to business against Central Coast Mariners this Saturday. 

Wellington will be missing midfielder Alex Rufer through suspension, while Steven Taylor, Tom Doyle and Justin Gulley are all injury doubts.

But Phoenix's defensive misfortune has allowed Rudan to promote Gianni Stensness, the latest home-grown talent to emerge from the Phoenix academy line.

“Gianni is a very good young player, I think he can play as a centre back or as a number six," Durante said.

“[He’s got a] gifted left foot, right foot…he’s quite technically good.

“If he gets an opportunity that’s great, that’s another one coming through the production line like Libby [Cacace] and Sarpreet [Singh], so positive signs for the football club.

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