Sigmund draws skipper's praise

Ben Sigmund is developing the knack of scoring crucial goals for Wellington Phoenix this Hyundai A-League season.

Ben Sigmund is developing the knack of scoring crucial goals for Wellington Phoenix this Hyundai A-League season.

After heading home a late winner against Perth Glory, the defender scored in similar fashion on Wednesday to seal the three points in the Phoenix's 4-2 victory against Sydney FC.

It was his fifth goal for the club and came after Bruno Cazarine had tied things up at 2-2 following first-half goals for Brett Emerton (penalty), Daniel (penalty) and Dani Sanchez.

Paul Ifill, returning from a groin injury, put the icing on the cake with his third of the season deep into stoppage time.

"He's been brilliant, and not just for scoring goals," enthused Sigmund's central defensive partner and Phoenix skipper Andrew Durante.

"He's been brilliant all year. He works hard every single game.

"For him to score goals to get us back into games is just that little bit of extra reward for him. He's been brilliant."

The win lifted Wellington into fourth spot, two points above Sydney, and Durante admitted the challenge now - particularly given their poor away form - was to stay in the top four which would ensure home advantage in the finals series.

"We showed in season two (of the club) that we need that fourth spot to really have a good crack at the finals," he said.

"We've got a really big game on Sunday against Perth and if we can get another win then we keep climbing.

"It's going to be another tough one on Sunday but there's no reason why we can't go and pick up another three points."

Coach Ricki Herbert wants to see his side get better at keeping teams under pressure after they let Sydney back into the game.

"We need to keep the foot on the throttle a bit more. I thought we were very, very good in some patches today," he said.

"Balls into the box and timings of runs can always be better. You can't sit back now and we've got nine (goals in two home games) so everything is okay."

But Ifill's return from injury, plus good cameos off the bench from Mirjan Pavlovic and Alex Smith means Herbert is likely to have some selection headaches after Sanchez and Daniel both well enough to earn another start on Sunday.

If Herbert chooses to start Ifill up front against Glory Chris Greenacre could be the player to make way but his star playmaker's versatility means the likes of Leo Bertos and Daniel are also under pressure.

"With Ifill we've got a couple of options to consider because he can play wide as well. You've got Smithy challenging for a midfield role. You've got Ifill, Greenie and Pavlovic (up front) so there is some good competition. I'm not sure it would matter who I left out there would be an expectation to play well," he said.