Wellington Phoenix have signed New Zealand defender Ian Hogg until the end of the A-League season.
The 23-year-old left back comes into the squad as a replacement for striker Mirjan Pavlovic whose contract was terminated by mutual consent in November.
Hogg will join the team on Wednesday and will be eligible to play from January 14 ahead of the trip to Sydney FC.
‘I’ve been waiting a while to get a break here and now that it’s come I can’t wait to get started,” said Hogg, who was released by MLS side Portland Timbers after failing to make a first team appearance.
“I think it is a good time to come in because Ricki (Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert) is giving young guys a chance and playing a new style that I believe will suit my game.”
The Phoenix needed to sign another player in the transfer window to reach the A-League’s minimum squad size of 20.
They were limited to New Zealand or Australia players however, as they already have their import quota of five.
Hogg made his All Whites debut against El Salvador last year and also played for the New Zealand Under-23 side at the London Olympics. He joined the Timberwolves shortly afterwards.
Tony Lochhead is the incumbent left back at Wellington, but has had a patchy season. Even so, Hogg, who has not played since September, is unlikely to be thrust into action immediately.
“It is up to me now that Ricki has given me this opportunity and I will be working hard to show I’m up to it,” said Hogg, who got through the Phoenix fitness testing despite his lack of football.
“No player likes the tests but while I hadn’t trained for a couple of months, apart from some running, I am naturally fit and got through it okay. I’m sure I’ll be fine after a couple of weeks training.”