Ifill could miss rest of 2017

Paul Ifill has been told he will not play again this year after straining his hamstring twice in Tasman United's 2-2 draw with Eastern Suburbs last weekend.

The 38-year-old former Wellington Phoenix star has been in good form for Tasman, who sit fourth on the ISPS Handa Premiership table despite having not won any of their past four matches.

Ifill has scored three goals in the first six games of the season, including the equaliser against Suburbs, and though he has been used as an impact player off the bench in recent weeks, he was happy with the contribution he was making.

"I was really pleased with how I'm going. I'm not pleased to be on the bench but if I can come on and make an impact off the bench then that's fine. I'd rather be starting, I did feel that I was going pretty well this season with three in six and you want to continue that."

The injury occurred in the "last kick of the game" as Ifill attempted a cross in a last-ditch attempt to find the winning goal.

"As I went to cross I felt it go but the ball hadn't run off so I thought if I could just wrap my foot around this I could probably still cross it in and I felt it go again so there's actually two strains, one behind the knee and one a bit further up," he said.

"It's a bit niggly but it's nothing that I haven't done before so I'll just do the rehab as best I can."

Ifill said the physio's initial prognosis was that he could be out for the rest of 2017 and would therefore target a return against Canterbury United on January 7, with a return for the December 17 clash with Auckland City a best-case scenario.

He will definitely miss Sunday's match against Wellington Phoenix reserves at Trafalgar Park, which is a game Tasman should be winning considering the opposition are yet to register a win.

"The timing is not great. I feel like the Phoenix are a team that can be beaten and I'd have liked to have been out there. But I think the boys will be fine without me.

"We're in a good spot at the moment. If you had said after six games that we'd be sitting in fourth, I think I'd have taken that. It's been a pretty good start to the season."

Ifill said he saw encouraging signs from teenagers Lyle Matthysen and Matt Tod-Smith, who have played in the National Youth League team for the past two rounds, and suggested them or striker Alex Connor-McClean could be worth promoting in his absence.

"I watched them both on the weekend and I thought they were great. Scotty Morris was good in goal and Alex Connor-McClean. There's guys in that team that are putting their hand up and saying 'we're ready' so when an old fella like me falls over it's probably a good time to get one of those guys in."

Photo by: CHRIS SYMES/PHOTOSPORT. Caption: Paul Ifill celebrates with team-mates after scoring the equaliser against Eastern Suburbs last weekend.