It’s been three years in the wilderness away from their spiritual home and two years without a finals appearance, but the Western Sydney Wanderers are ready to return to the glory days.
As excitement grows around the kick-off of the Hyundai A-League season, the Red & Black faithful will be gearing up for an epic return to their fortress filled with hope that the Wanderers will once again be a force to be reckoned with.
After last season’s disappointment of missing out on the Top Six, the club and head coach Markus Babbel have left no stone unturned in the quest to build a squad capable of challenging for trophies this season with a host of new signings and some familiar faces ready to make an impact.
Babbel has brought in Pirmin Schwegler, Daniel Lopar and Alex Meier as his visa players while also adding experienced Hyundai A-League campaigners Daniel Georgievski, Dylan McGowan and Matt Jurman.
The likes of new Wanderers captain Mitchell Duke, veteran Tarek Elrich, talented midfielder Keanu Baccus and classy attacker Kwame Yeboah, the Red & Black will look to build on their contributions from last season.
While young guns Mo Adam, Tass Mourdoukoutas, Daniel Wilmering, Tate Russell, Kosta Grozos and Nick Sullivan will be pushing hard for regular starting spots.
The vibe and enthusiasm around the club's new training complex at Rooty Hill has been infectious and no doubt has been buoyed by a solid pre-season in which the team has worked hard over the last three months.
Now the hard work is done and it is down to the serious business of earning competition points.
And, the signs are good for the Wanderers.
On and off the field, the new recruits have fitted in seamlessly in providing the football nous while also contributing to the family type culture that is synonymous with the Western Sydney region and the club.
The signing former Bundesliga golden boot winner Meier was a coup
The Wanderers will be looking to ensure they get a quick start to the season against the Mariners, something that has largely been an issue in previous seasons.
They have won just once in the opening game of the season. A 2-1 win home win against Perth Glory to open the 2017/18 season.
Indeed, the club has recorded just two wins from 14 games in the first two rounds of the season and this is no doubt something Babbel will be looking to rectify.
The return to Wanderland will be a significant factor for the Red & Black given they will have home games against the Mariners and Sydney FC in the Sydney Derby to open the first three rounds.