AAP

Ifill ready to rise for Phoenix

DON'T count Paul Ifill out just yet.

The Wellington Phoenix forward turned 34 last month and has struggled to get back to full fitness during the first few weeks of the A-League. But the former Milwall player doesn't see himself as a spent force.

Ifill (pictured) is confident he has overcome his early-season hamstring woes, and despite being subbed at halftime by coach Ernie Merrick during last week's 0-0 draw with Newcastle, wants to make amends against the Melbourne Victory tonight.

He will likely be used off the bench against the Victory, as the Phoenix search for their first win of the season.

"I just need to get a bit of confidence back in my game and my body," Ifill said.

The match will mark the coaching debut of Kevin Muscat at the helm of Melbourne, a club he captained under Merrick in the inaugural year of the A-League.

Muscat said yesterday he was looking forward to seeing his old boss on the opposition bench.

"It will be nice to see him back, he's had a lot of success at this football club," Muscat said.

Marquee man Pablo Contreras will replace Nick Ansell in Melbourne's starting side.


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