Phoenix cop an Ifill

WELLINGTON Phoenix FC’s striking stocks have been boosted significantly with the signing for Barbados international and former Millwall, Sheffield United and Crystal Palace marksman Paul Ifill.

WELLINGTON Phoenix FC-s striking stocks have been boosted significantly with the signing for Barbados international and former Millwall, Sheffield United and Crystal Palace marksman Paul Ifill.

The 29-year-old British-born Barbadian international will join the Phoenix for the Hyundai A-League 2009/10 campaign to kick off his two-year deal with the Wellington-based club.

At 184cm, Ifill is set to be the perfect striking partner for fellow Briton and ex-Tranmere Rovers scorer Chris Greenacre, offering an excellent target option for Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert.

Phoenix chief executive Tony Pignata said Ifill had been a target for the Phoenix for some time.

“Paul is someone we-ve been speaking to for a while and we-ve kept those discussions open while he has been making some decisions around his future. Now that Crystal Palace have granted him a release we-re thrilled that we-ve been able to secure his services in Wellington for the coming two seasons.”

Ifill is set to arrive in Wellington later next week and will hook up with his new teammates in time to be considered for selection for the Phoenix-s first Hyundai A-League 2009/10 match against the Newcastle Jets on August 9.

“Paul has a young family and we want to make sure he gets everything sorted first and he-s settled in as quickly and smoothly as possible. He has played professional football at the highest levels for some time, so he knows exactly what is required of him when he links with the team.”

Pignata said the signing of Ifill vindicated the Phoenix-s decision to take their time in signing strikers for the 2009/10 campaign.

“There has always been a lot of pressure around signing a marquee-type player but we believed it was important to find the sort of player that was hungry to achieve and still had the passion to bring something to the club. In that respect we had very good reports regarding Paul and we are delighted to sign him. We wanted the right people and we-re pleased we-ve got that.

“Paul has pace, height and international experience - all the qualities we were looking for. With Paul and Chris we-ve got very, very good attacking options.”

Ifill has played more than 360 matches at British elite level, most recently with Crystal Palace. The son of English and Barbadian parents, he has represented Barbados at international level, scoring six goals in 10 matches.

The Phoenix will continue their hunt for an additional striker before the 2009/10 season kicks off, with two trial strikers with the team on its current pre-season tour to China and Australia. Brazilian Anderson Potty and Chinese under-23 international Jiang Chen will take part in tonight-s match against Chinese Super League side Guangzhou Pharmaceuticals before the team moves on to play the Central Coast Mariners in Dubbo on Saturday.

“We-ve now found the target man we-ve been looking for but we-ll see what other options we have also,” Pignata said.

The Phoenix opened their account in China with a 2-2 draw with Tianjin Teda at the weekend.

PAUL IFILL

Date of birth:

October 20, 1979 in Brighton, England Height, weight: 1.84m, 82kg Playing position: Striker/attacking midfielder

Club history: 2007-2009 Crystal Palace, 67 appearances (11 goals); 2005-2007 Sheffield United, 45 (9); 1998-2005 Millwall, 256 (43)

International history: 2004- Barbados 10 (6)