Football: Phoenix sign Birmingham striker

Phoenix coach Ernie Merrick. Photo / Getty Images.
Phoenix coach Ernie Merrick. Photo / Getty Images.

The Wellington Phoenix have made a move to cure their goal scoring woes, signing a young Birmingham City striker on loan until the end of the season.

The Phoenix have been struggling in front of goal since Roy Krishna's injury in early January, and their inability to find the net has been a major factor in their current eight game winless run.

They hope 21-year-old Alex Jones can help their plight. Jones has been playing reserve and under-21 football and jumped at the opportunity for first team action.

"It is tough for young players in England with clubs bringing in new, older players all the time and when I discussed it with the manager he thought it was a good chance for me," Jones said. "He said 'go and play games and score goals and you never know where it can lead'. The A-League is televised in England and it is also a shop window for players to show what they can do but my first priority is to do the job the Phoenix need from me."

The Phoenix contact came from former Wellington goalkeeping coach Jonathan Gould who is now at West Bromwich Albion, the club Jones was with before joining Birmingham City.

"Gouldie said he thought it would suit me and that it could be a great opportunity," said Jones. "He told me about the culture at the club and after speaking to [Ernie] Merrick I couldn't wait to get things moving.

Merrick said Jones had been on their Phoenix radar for some time.

"It is part of our long-term plan for on-going recruitment," Merrick said. "We have created a world-wide network so we can access up and coming young players and bring them to our club. Jonathan Gould has been keeping an eye out for promising young players and told us about Alex nine months ago, saying he might be worth looking at as he was scoring goals regularly."

"We had no visa spot available but when Roy Krishna became a long-term injury victim we were able to use his visa spot. I got back in touch with [Birmingham] manager Gary Rowett and he thought the move would benefit both the player and the Phoenix."

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