Saturday’s match against Adelaide United is a chance to finish the season on a high.Younger players will be given opportunity to shine and one veteran might celebrate his 200th Hyundai A-League appearance. But where to next?
Where to now? This was the question posed by Fox Sports’ Tara Rushton of Wanderers winger Romeo Castelen after last weekend’s match away to Central Coast Mariners. Evidently the expression was lost on him as the Netherlands international accepted it as an awkward conclusion to the interview. Or perhaps he just knew a chuckle was needed after 90 minutes spent toiling without reward.
No appropriate answer would have been especially ground-breaking anyway. Thoughts clearly turn to Adelaide United today and Kashima Antlers on Tuesday night. Castelen will be crucial to those chances.
At 31 though the lively attacker won’t be around forever. ‘Where to’ framed further into the future becomes more intriguing. While members continue to be the established backbone of Western Sydney Wanderers, on the pitch a new spine is being formed.
Four teenagers all clocked considerable minutes in Gosford as part of preparations for next term. Central defender Jonathan Aspropotamitis again proved his quality of composure. It didn’t go unnoticed.
“Jonathan Aspro, take out that first 10 minutes, he was so calm and assured in the second half which was really pleasing,” coach Tony Popovic said after the Central Coast game.
“Alusine Fofanah played. Steve Kuzmanovski played. Shayne D’Cunha gets a debut.
“There are a lot of positives moving forward for next year, but we still want to finish the season on a high in the A-League – and we will do the best we can – and we have a huge game on Tuesday.”
Expect to see more of their type today.
Two matches remain in the Hyundai A-League and leapfrogging Newcastle Jets is the primary objective. Youth will again be counted on to get the job done.
It won’t be easy against the Reds whose high aspirations can’t account for a continuation of last weekend’s home loss to Brisbane Roar. Adelaide’s discussion solely concerns the present; no more time can go to waste after two straight exits at the first stop in finals. Experienced stars Eugene Galekovic, Marcelo Carrusca and Sergio Cirio must deliver.
Opposition excellence however won’t excuse any young Wanderer from performing to their potential.
“It’s difficult to say a kid has a good game and now he’s going to make it in football,” Popovic said after the Mariners match.
“It doesn’t go like that, we all know that. We certainly hope the kids we are bringing through can be the backbone of our club one day.”
Making two final Hyundai A-League fixtures truly count will help ensure that day arrives soon.
Be there as Wanderers celebrate Members Day and Mark Bridge’s 200th A-League match. Kick-off is 5pm and tickets are available here.