Ward bolsters Phoenix midfield

MIDFIELDER Nick Ward has signed with Wellington Phoenix FC for the remainder of the Hyundai A-League 2010/11 season.

MIDFIELDER Nick Ward has signed with Wellington Phoenix FC for the remainder of the Hyundai A-League 2010/11 season.

The 25-year-old joins the Phoenix from Melbourne Victory, with whom he won the premiership in 2008/09. Ward, an Australian age-group representative who has played Championship football in England with Queens Park Rangers, will add further depth and creativity to the Phoenix-s midfield.

“Nick-s a good addition to the squad and adds depth into the midfield in a more attacking role,” said Phoenix head coach Ricki Herbert. “He-s the sort of midfielder who gets more advanced (up the pitch) and he has a great engine.”

Ward has also proved his worth as a goalscorer, chipping in with five goals in his 46 appearances for the Victory and another five in 21 games for the Perth Glory in their 2005/06 Hyundai A-League campaign. At Perth he was named the Hyundai A-League-s Young Player of the Year.

Herbert said Ward-s eye for goal would be a bonus.

“In the Victory-s premiership season in 2008/09 Nick was quite prolific scoring goals for the club and played a major role for them, so bringing a proven goalscoring midfielder will certainly add something for us.”

The Phoenix now have plenty of depth, quality and versatility in their wide and central midfield, with Ward boosting the current stocks of Tim Brown, Leo Bertos, Paul Ifill, Vince Lia, Daniel and Oscar Roberto Cornejo.

Herbert said there would be much greater pressure on places in the middle of the park for the Phoenix.

“Each and every player at the club offers different qualities, hence the reason why we-ve sought to add depth into the squad. There-s now a healthy competition for places and we must remember that, given the longer season, everyone will have ample opportunity to stake their claims.

“It-s a good headache for me to have as a coach and I-m sure all the players will be looking forward to the challenge.”

Ward will be available for selection for the Phoenix-s match away to Perth Glory on Sunday.

“He-s been training with the Victory and he-s coming here fully fit and ready to go,” said Herbert.

NICK WARD

Date of birth:

March 24, 1985 in Perth, Australia Height, weight: 1.83m, 79kg Playing position: Attacking midfielder

Club history: 2007-10 Melbourne Victory, 2007 Brighton and Hove Albion (loan), 2006-07 Queens Park Rangers, 2005-06 Perth Glory, 2004 Stirling Lions, 2003-04 Perth Glory

Hyundai A-League: 67 matches (46 for Melbourne Victory, 21 for Perth Glory)

Representative: 2006-08 Australia under-23, 2004-05 Australia under-20