Phoenix poised to rise

The Phoenix sit in seventh spot after their vital 2-nil win against the Central Coast Mariners on New Years Eve but man of the moment Paul Ifill insists they must continue their winnings ways if they are to feature in the play-offs this season.

The Phoenix sit in seventh spot after their vital 2-nil win against the Central Coast Mariners on New Years Eve but man of the moment Paul Ifill insists they must continue their winnings ways if they are to feature in the play-offs this season.

Ifill bagged a double against the Mariners, taking his season tally to eight, and the Phoenix will need more of his spark against the Brisbane Roar on Saturday night if they are to claim the points.

"There's no point going away on New Years' Eve and winning away if you can't pull it up with your two home games," Ifill said on Wednesday.

"We need six points and if we don't take six points I don't think we're really a serious team for the finals this year."

Saturday nights' encounter will be the third between the teams' this season. The first clash back in August ended in a 1-1 draw, while the Roar took full points from their latest meeting six weeks ago with a comprehensive 4-1 win at Suncorp Stadium, albeit against a Wellington side down to 10 men.

Ifill, though, feels the Phoenix let themselves down back in November and refuses to make any excuses for the effort.

"I think we were pretty poor there [away to Brisbane] and you could point to the fact that Manny [Muscat] got sent off but I thought we'd have got beat anyway."

"I don't think we were great on the day and I think we've improved a lot since then collectively."

Their win against the Mariners halted their mid-season slide down the table which happened to coincide with injuries and ill-discipline, thoroughly testing their squad depth.

The English-born Barbadian international has admitted to some frustrating moments over the last month-and-a-half but he feels, with the return of Chris Greenacre from injury and the signing of Eugene Dadi from Perth, the tide will turn.

"I don't think it's a matter of teams getting used to me I think it's just the way we've been playing. I'd like to think it would've carried on if Greeny had of still been playing."

"I like playing off an out and out striker which Greeny and Eugene are and I've been trying to play that role myself which just isn't really my game. I've done the best I could and I think I've done alright, especially the last game, but the three weeks before that I was pretty much anonymous."

"I felt like I was just running around for 90 minutes with no much reward. It's nice to get back on the scoresheet and I'm full of confidence again. Hopefully I'll be playing off one of the centre-forwards again this week, or maybe both, and hopefully that will work."

"I'm one of them forwards who is just as happy with two assists and we win 2-0 as I do scoring two goals. As long as I'm involved somewhere along the line in and around the goals that keeps me happy."

Unselfish is one word to describe Ifill as a player and this not only applies to his instincts on the field. Off the pitch as well he knows just how important his vast experience is to the younger members of the squad.

"I think you can always help the young lads. I had that a lot as a kid and I know it helps if you can look up to the senior pros. Myself and Greeny are keen to help Costa [Barbarouses] and Marco [Rojas] if they ever want to stay and do a bit extra because you're a long-time retired."