Ifill shoots for more

Paul Ifill has certainly got a nose for a goal at the moment scoring in each of the Wellington Phoenix's past three matches.

Paul Ifill has certainly got a nose for a goal at the moment scoring in each of the Wellington Phoenix's past three matches.

Since arriving in the New Zealand capital for the start of the 2009/10 Hyundai A-League season the Barbadian international has quickly established himself as one of the league's best players.

In addition to the six goals he's tallied, his work-rate, skill on the ball, punishing runs and deft passing has made him a constant menace for opposing teams as his seven goal assists attest to.

Last Sunday's 13th-minute goal against the Newcastle Jets in the stifling heat and humidity of the Hunter Valley proved to be the match-winner, handing the Phoenix its first away win in more than a year.

It followed a goal against the Glory which saw Wellington take a share of the spoils and another in the 3-0 win over the Jets in the rearranged midweek clash in Wellington in early November.

"It's good at the minute. It's the best run I've been on for a while," said Ifill. "I'm just trying to get myself into double figures now."

"You need a bit of luck as a centre forward and I think I've had some good deliveries from the boys. It was another good delivery from Lochie (Tony Lochhead) at the weekend."

"When you score a few in a row you do things that you probably wouldn't do - like the goal at the weekend putting my foot in there. I probably wouldn't have done that a couple of weeks ago and it came off."

Wellington travels to Brisbane to take on the Roar on Sunday. When the two teams last met in round three it was a feisty encounter that ended in a 1-1 stalemate as Chris Greenacre headed home an equaliser five minutes from time after an early defensive lapse had given Sergio Van Dijk a simple tap-in for the Roar in the 10th minute.

The Roar also had Tommy Oar sent off for two yellow cards in the dying minutes, while referee Chris Beath booked five other Brisbane players and two from the Phoenix.

"We go there again knowing what they are like. I thought we acquitted ourselves well the last time. I know we nicked a goal late but we dominated for long periods of the game," said Ifill.

"If we go there and acquit ourselves like we did at the weekend (against the Jets) then I'm sure we will be fine."

Since the round three draw, Wellington's defence has improved immensely with central defenders Ben Sigmund and Andrew Durante rarely being beaten and in the following 12 matches it has kept five clean sheets and conceded just 10 goals.

Up front the Phoenix is also starting to find the back of the net as well after a run of draws which saw it struggle to finish the numerous chances it was creating.

"Personally I think if we keep a clean sheet we'll win the game," said Ifill. "It's down to us up top to create something and hopefully the boys at the back will be solid again and that will stand us in good stead."

There is no doubt confidence in the Phoenix camp has been boosted by the success that six of the team - Mark Paston, Lochhead, Ben Sigmund, Leo Bertos, Tim Brown and David Mulligan - experienced with the New Zealand side reaching next year's Fifa World Cup in South Africa after the 1-0 win over Bahrain.

Ifill said: "The boys came back into camp and a lot of people said they'd probably be deflated and find it hard to get up for the next game but I think they are buzzing."

"At the end of the day they are playing for places at the World Cup and there is no bigger carrot to dangle than that and you're doing it right in front of the gaffer (All Whites and Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert)."

"For those players around the squad (pushing for places in the All Whites squad) it's great and the people already in the team they have got to keep themselves in the team. It helps us massively I think."