Ifill to play hurt

Paul Ifill has vowed to push through the pain barrier as the Wellington Phoenix eye a prized spot in the Hyundai A-League grand final against Melbourne.

Paul Ifill has vowed to push through the pain barrier as the Wellington Phoenix eye a prized spot in the Hyundai A-League grand final against Melbourne.

The star import damaged a medial ligament in his knee early in the 3-1 extra-time win over the Newcastle Jets at Westpac Stadium on Sunday.

But he battled on to complete the full 120 minutes, scoring the first goal in extra time that helped take his side into Saturday's preliminary final against Sydney.

"It's sore but it will take a lot more than that to stop me," he said before the team's departure to Sydney.

"I'll do what needs be to get out there. I was on painkillers at the weekend so if we have to go down that route we'll go down that route but touch wood it will be okay."

"I managed to get through another 120 minutes (after being taken to penalties by Perth Glory in the previous match) and the way I look at it, if I can get through that it's no reason why I shouldn't be able to get through another 120 if needs be."

Ifill, who won five awards presented at the Phoenix's annual awards night on Wednesday, notched his 13th goal of the season last weekend.

But he has failed to score in all three encounters against Sydney.

In fact the only player to find the back of the net against the sky blues is Costa Barbarouses who hasn't made the squad for the trip across the Tasman.

"We've been pretty poor (against them) but going into this we're full of confidence. There's personnel changes, there's positional changes and that will help us be a stronger unit against them."

The positional changes have been the catalyst to the Phoenix's excellent run at the back end of the season.

Since Troy Hearfield was switched to right back and Manny Muscat moved to a defensive midfield role behind the tireless Vince Lia and Tim Brown, the Wellington club has won eight of its last 10 games, including the last five in a row.

But keeping Sydney in check, particularly livewire Alex Brosque, Mark Bridge, who has taken over from the injured Steve Corica in the playmaker role, and Stuart Musalik, will be a stern challenge. "Their midfield is strong but I fancy our midfield to come out on top," Ifill said.

"If Duro (captain Andrew Durante) and Siggy (Ben Sigmund) or Duro and Macca (Jon McKain) can look after Brosque and Bridge then it's down to us (forwards) to do the business at the other end."