Ifill commits to Phoenix

The news is all good in the world of the Wellington Phoenix with confirmation of standout striker Paul Ifill's signature until at least the end of the 2011/12 Hyundai A-League season.

The news is all good in the world of the Wellington Phoenix with confirmation of standout striker Paul Ifill's signature until at least the end of the 2011/12 Hyundai A-League season.

Signed to the Phoenix this season from Crystal Palace, Ifill has been simply outstanding up front in filling the big shoes of former goal-scoring maestro Shane Smeltz.

The 30-year-old Barbadian international has scored four goals in 12 matches, including his most recent one in Wellington's 3-0 defeat of Newcastle on Wednesday night.

But it is his outstanding work rate, talent on the ball and ability to put team-mates into better positions that has already made him a success story at the Phoenix.

It is no wonder then that the club was so keen to secure his services for an extended period and it has done exactly that, with Ifill deciding to add another year onto his original one-year extension.

"It was very straight-forward and there was very little to talk about," Ifill said. "It wasn't a case of more money; it was more about securing more time in Wellington and I'm really pleased that it's done.

"There were other clubs in the market but the Phoenix showed faith in me and, given my injury record in England, brought me here.

""I want to reward the club for that faith by staying in Wellington and playing a role in getting the team into the playoffs this season. When the club let me know they wanted me there was only one place I was going to be."

Ifill also revealed his move to Wellington, and the Hyundai A-League, had reinvigorated his career and his passion for professional football.

"I've not enjoyed football like this for years. The last time would have been back in 2004 when I made the FA Cup final with Millwall.

"We've got a great bunch of lads here in Wellington and I'm one of the elder statesmen.

"It's nice being able to help the younger guys like Costa Barbarouses and Marco Rojas. You can see the ability the young guys have got and it's great for players like myself and Greenie (fellow British striker Chris Greenacre) to help in their development."

Also making the decision easier was how well his partner, Elle, and three-year-old daughter Romy had settled in the New Zealand capital.

Phoenix chief executive Tony Pignata was understandably delighted to have beaten off bids by other Hyundai A-League clubs hungry to lure the red-hot Ifill across the Tasman.

"To be able to bring a player like Paul here and to see him enjoying playing in the Hyundai A-League is fantastic for the club and the competition," Pignata said.

"We had identified Paul as a recruitment target before the start of this season and (coach) Ricki Herbert and I spoke to him when we visited the United Kingdom.

"It took plenty of work but it was great to get him over here but he's clearly shown his worth. Paul's a player with that special X-factor, he's settled extremely well and he's shown what he can do - every time he gets the ball he's exciting."

Ifill and the Phoenix are in action again on Sunday afternoon when the Perth Glory roll into Wellington.