Alex Smith out to secure future

He scored his first goal in Wellington Phoenix colours against Melbourne Victory last weekend and now striker Alex Smith's next goal is to secure his long-term future at the Hyundai A-League club.

He scored his first goal in Wellington Phoenix colours against Melbourne Victory last weekend and now striker Alex Smith's next goal is to secure his long-term future at the Hyundai A-League club.

Smith was signed in October on an injury-replacement contract which ends on January 19 and has started six of the eight games he has played so far this campaign.

"I've just got to keep playing well and see what happens," said Smith.

"That side of things usually takes care of itself. I've just got to stay positive."

Last Sunday's match where he started up front with Chris Greenacre was probably the first time the former Major League Soccer player had played in his regular position.

During the early part of the season he was used by coach Ricki Herbert in a more defensive midfield role or operating alone up front because of the run injuries.

But his strike against Victory capped off a strong performance and Herbert has made positive noises about wanting to keep the 26-year-old on post-January.

"He's not doing his case any harm that's for sure," said Herbert.

"I thought he was very good at the weekend.

"He's better coming from behind the ball and he's capable of scoring goals. He's a shot to carry on at the club. I've been very impressed with him."

Smith made his Phoenix debut off the bench in week two then started the next five games before dropping down to the bench again for the week eight clash with Sydney at Westpac Stadium when Paul Ifill made his return to the starting line-up following a groin injury.

Smith, who then injured his foot, didn't feature again until the latter stages of the 2-0 win against Brisbane 10 days ago when he came on for Ifill when he injured his groin again.

He made his sixth start of the season last weekend and looks set to retain his spot against Newcastle Jets on Friday night with Ifill not expected to be back until the match against Sydney on January 4.

The American felt he had been given enough opportunity to press his claims for a permanent contract.

"You can't really make a name for yourself unless you get that chance and I've definitely been given that and I feel like I've taken advantage of it," Smith said.

He was also unconcerned about dropping in and out of the starting line-up.

"When I was younger it was a bit tough on me. But when you get older and get a bit of experience you learn that that's just football and that's what happens," he added.

"You just have to keep doing your own thing and whenever the manager calls on you he calls on you. You've just got to be ready whenever that might be."