Wanderers Wanderland return a boost to Finals prospects

There’s no place like home as the Wanderers return to Bankwest Stadium for the first time in almost a month to play the Newcastle Jets in a vital Round 19 Hyundai A-League game on Saturday night.

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Following a resounding 3-1 win over the Central Coast Mariners on February 2, the Red & Black will be looking to continue to build momentum under interim head coach Jean-Paul de Marigny.

The Wanderers will go into the game fresh given the postponement of last week’s Sydney Derby because of the state of the ground, something that has allowed de Marigny even more time to work with the squad.

They should appreciate being back at Wanderland and playing in front of their loyal fans having not had the benefit of home ground advantage since the loss to Brisbane Roar on 19 January.

The eighth-placed Wanderers (17 points) have plenty to play for as they look to make a late charge towards the Hyundai A-Leauge Finals. 

They are just five points off sixth spot held by Brisbane Roar, but the Queenslanders have played one extra game.

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With Nicolai Muller leading the way, the Red & Black produced one of their best performances of the season against the Mariners in Gosford. They were well organised in both attack and defence and there was plenty of hunger and belief.

Among the many positives to emerge from the win was the debut of marquee striker Simon Cox, who came off the bench midway through the second half.

Despite only being in the country a matter of weeks, the former Irish international had an immediate impact, earning a penalty that saw Mitchell Duke convert from the spot.

Cox


Cox then made certain of the three points by scoring late in the game after a swift Wanderers’ counter-attack.

Cox, who was in line to start in the Sydney Derby had the game gone ahead, will be fitter for that run and better acclimatized given the extra week of training.

Having lost to the Jets away in the first round, the Wanderers will be looking to exact some revenge. However, it is likely to be a tough encounter.

History shows that games against the Jets are usually evenly contested and hard-fought. They have met 22 times with both teams recording eight wins apiece with six draws.

The Jets are also coming off a win against the Mariners and will have a new coach at the helm so they will be keen to impress the new boss as well as attempting to get off the bottom of the table.