Ifill wants boost from team-mates

January 19, 2011

Injured Wellington Phoenix striker Paul Ifill has a message for his team-mates as they head into the final stages of the A-League.

With just four rounds of the regular season remaining the Phoenix are only three points outside the top six going into Sunday's home clash with Perth Glory.

And Ifill is doing everything he can to fire his team up from the sidelines.

"Get us into the playoffs and give me a chance of playing again this season," he said.

The Barbados international has not played since mid-December after suffering leg and ankle injuries in the match against Newcastle Jets.

Ifill admits his chances of pulling on a Phoenix playing strip again this season are slim at best given the severity of his injuries.

"When you are doing something like aqua jogging, which is totally boring, you need to focus elsewhere. I know my chances are slim but you never know," he said.

The striker is much more positive about the team's chances of making the playoffs for the second successive season.

"I think we'll need to win our home games and pick up a couple of points away," he said.

"We are strong at home and have some difficult away games coming up but we have been looking okay in the last few games. There is no reason why we can't make it."

Coach Ricki Herbert agrees with Ifill's assessment of the challenge facing his team but is also optimistic.

"With a bit of luck we could have got more than the one point we did from our last two away games," Herbert said.

"Our lack of success away from Westpac Stadium has been well documented but there have been some good signs recently."

The most encouraging of those signs was the performance the Phoenix turned in when beating Melbourne Victory 2-0 in their last home game.

After a run of injuries and suspensions forced a changed squad week by week, Herbert has had the luxury of a settled squad for the past three games.

Herbert named an unchanged squad with the addition of Argentinian attacking midfielder Oscar Roberto Cornejo as cover for New Zealand international Leo Bertos who has a groin problem.

Wellington Phoenix squad: Danny Vukovic, Troy Hearfield, Andrew Durante (captain), Ben Sigmund, Tony Lochhead, Manny Muscat, Vince Lia, Tim Brown, Nicky Ward, Leo Bertos, Marco Rojas, Dylan Macallister, Chris Greenacre, Daniel Cortes, Oscar Roberto Cornejo, Reece Crowther.