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Phoenix sign defensive cover

Published: 7:30PM Thursday March 06, 2014 Source: ONE Sport

Whatever the weather at training you can guarantee that the Wellington Phoenix' latest recruit, English-born defender Shaun Timmins, won't be moaning about it.

"It beats labouring on a Melbourne building site that's for sure," the 22-year-old said with a grin after signing an injury replacement contract with the A-League club till the end of the season.

Building sites were where Timmins spent his days while playing semi-professional for Victorian Premier League side Green Gully.

Timmins comes with a sound footballing pedigree having come through the junior ranks with English club Coventry City before signing a one-year professional contract with Championship side Birmingham City.

He also represented the Republic of Ireland at under-20 level through his father's nationality.

"I loved my time at Birmingham but it didn't help that they got promoted to the Premiership and rather than keep some of the young pros they could afford to buy experienced players," Timmins said.

"I had a trial at Sheffield United but wasn't really enjoying my football so decided to do something different and headed to Perth in Australia.

"The climate was great and I loved the city but the standard of football wasn't that good so I moved on to Melbourne for a challenge.

"At Green Gully Roddy Vargas, who played for Ernie Merrick at Victory, said he thought I was good enough to play A-League and gave Ernie a call."

Merrick was impressed with what he saw, but as Timmins was classed as a Visa player he arranged for him to play for Team Wellington while still training with the Phoenix.

Last week the Phoenix suffered another long-term injury when fullback Reece Caira fractured his cheek bone and Merrick signed Timmins as an injury replacement till the end of the season.

"We originally brought him out to train with us but losing Reece meant we had to find cover and Shaun provides it," Merrick said.

"He is a left-footed left back or left centre back with an excellent CV and that is what we need at the moment ."

Timmins said he was delighted to be given the opportunity and had thoroughly enjoyed the short time he has been with the Phoenix.

"You don't want to wish harm on anyone, but sometime you just need a bit of luck to make the breakthrough and this might be mine," he said.

"When you have tasted professional football you miss it and it would be a dream for me to get back into it.

"I've loved the training and Ernie is class. He has a great philosophy and the players have been great as well.

"When you go to a club on trial or to train you can finish up talking to yourself because the players see you as a threat.

"The Phoenix isn't like that. Everyone has been great."

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