Happy start for Phoenix

It took just two games at his new club for Wellington Phoenix striker Chris Greenacre to find the back of the net and the 31-year-old Yorkshireman could not be happier.

It took just two games at his new club for Wellington Phoenix striker Chris Greenacre to find the back of the net and the 31-year-old Yorkshireman could not be happier.

His 56th minute effort against Chinese Super League side Guangzhou Pharmaceuticals on the Phoenix's recent pre-season tour was just what the doctor ordered after an injury-hit final season for Greenacre at English League One side Tranmere Rovers.

"As a striker it's always important to get that first goal and thankfully it came sooner rather than later. I've been in situations where it's taken quite a while to come but thankfully it came after two games.

"With the injuries I've had it's been a while since I scored so it was a relief to score," he admitted.

Coach Ricki Herbert will be hoping for plenty more goals in the coming Hyundai A-League season with Greenacre and fellow recruit from England, Paul Ifill, replacing Shane Smeltz, last season's leading goal scorer (12) and Hyundai A-League player of the year.

Greenacre, who scored 53 goals in 160 appearances for Rovers, is confident he and Ifill, a 1.84m former Crystal Palace striker, can form a lucrative partnership up front.

"I've always played with a bigger striker alongside me so from my point of view I'm looking forward to the task," Greenacre said.

"I've played against Paul in the UK and he's played lots of games at a high level and scored goals."

Ifill, who has played 10 internationals for Barbados, arrived in Wellington early last week so missed the pre-season tour of China and the match against Central Coast Mariners in Dubbo.

But with the season-opener against Newcastle Jets looming the chance for Greenacre to get game-time under the belt was invaluable.

"For me I was able to get my first 90 minutes in seven months so it was a really pleasing time," the Phoenix striker said.

"I think the conditions were tough as well and that's character building for the squad as a whole. You've got to dig in there together and look after each other. We certainly did that."

The Phoenix heads into the new season as a rank outsider, despite narrowly missing the play-offs last year. But Greenacre is happy with the underdog tag.

"To be honest within the dressing room we know what we want to achieve. Being from New Zealand I think you get written off quite a lot. To be quite honest from playing in the UK I quite like being an underdog.

"If people want to talk it up let them. We know what we've got to achieve and we know what we want to achieve."