Goalkeeper Vukovic joins Phoenix

Former Australia U-23 goalkeeper Danny Vukovic, without a club after a playing deal fell through in Turkey, has signed with A-League club Wellington Phoenix, officials said on Monday.

Vukovic, 25, left Central Coast Mariners after making more than 100 appearances for them to take up a three-year contract with Turkish Super Lig club Konyaspor in June. But the deal was terminated in August when it was discovered the Turkish outfit had too many overseas players on its books and Vukovic returned home looking for a club.

Vukovic will now vie with New Zealand's 2010 FIFA World Cup™ goalkeeping hero Mark Paston for the number one custodian's spot at Phoenix.

"The Phoenix are probably the strongest they've been since they came into the competition, so I'm hoping I can come in and strengthen the side further and play as many games as possible," Vukovic said. "Mark's a national treasure now. It'll be a tough challenge but I'm looking forward to it. We'll push each other hard and whoever plays will deserve it."

"It's great to have Danny onboard and he significantly boosts our goalkeeping stocks," said Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert.

"The competition for the starting goalkeeper's spot is obviously going to be quite intense now. We've got an in-form goalkeeper from the World Cup in Mark Paston, an Australian international in Danny and an upcoming young keeper in Reece Crowther.

"Danny's not coming here content to be number two - he'll be pushing for that starting spot."