Ifill back running but future in limbo

Paul Ifill remains in football limbo as the out-of-contract forward continues his rehabilitation from a serious Achilles injury.

The 34-year-old’s Wellington Phoenix deal expired at the end of last season, the former Millwall man having managed just 11 appearances in 2013-14 before disaster struck in a 1-0 home win over Sydney FC on December 22.

The English-born Barbados international is facing a nervous wait to discover if the Phoenix bring in a fifth and final overseas player ahead of the new A-League campaign kicking off.

Ifill became a New Zealand resident this week, but will not count as a domestic member of the squad until he becomes a citizen.

“Obviously the club have got four [of the permitted five] import spots taken up, so if they get another one between now and the time that I’m fit then that’s obviously not great for me,” he told stuff.co.nz.

“But I wouldn’t want to put the club under any pressure because I don’t know how fit I can get and whether I’m going to get back at all.”

Ifill raised the prospect of training with the Phoenix and playing in the ASB Premiership – New Zealand’s national football competition – in an attempt to prove his fitness to Wellington coach Ernie Merrick.

“I was told 8-12 months when I did it and, being a footballer, you think I’ll take a month or two off that and I’ll be able to do it in six or seven. That’s what I told myself and I’m nearly at seven and still not right.

“Ideally I’d be looking at an A-League return in maybe December or January if all went well.”