Wanderers head coach Markus Babbel is confident new signing Simon Cox will adapt quickly to the football environment at the club and to the speed and physical nature of the Hyundai A-League.
Former Irish international striker Cox will join the Red & Black as a replacement for Alex Meier following the mutual termination of the German’s contract.
The 32-year-old Cox, who is expected to arrive in time to watch Sunday’s game against Perth Glory at Bankwest Stadium, comes to the Wanderers with a fine reputation as a goalscorer in England having played in the Premier League (with West Brom), the Championship and Leagues One and Two.
Cox will likely have his first training session with his new teammates early next week and Babbel can see no reason why he won’t fit in quickly.
“The good thing is that he wants to come to us, he is motivated, understands the language 100 percent and he is in good shape,” said Babbel.
“In England, there’s no Christmas break so he has been in training.
“I would be surprised if he takes a long time to be feeling comfortable here.”
Babbel revealed that Cox, capped 30 times (four goals) for the Republic Of Ireland, had been on the Wanderers radar as a possible signing last year, but his club, Southend United, refused to let him go.
Cox spent four seasons at the League One club, playing 133 games, scoring 42 goals and earning much respect from the Shrimpers fans, many of whom wished him good luck on his new journey at the Wanderers.
“Even at the beginning of the season he wanted to come to us, but the club would not let him go,” said Babbel.
“I am optimistic he comes for the right reasons.
“The good thing is that he can play as a striker or a number 10. He is a good footballer, has a good technique, has good speed and is a good finisher.
“If he gets an opportunity, he wants to score goals and now we have to bring him in these situations.
“All things look good, but it doesn’t guarantee you it is working from the first day so we have to give him time.”
All up, Cox, who also had stints with Reading, Bristol City, and Nottingham Forest, played over 500 games in England.
Babbel also had kind words for the departing Meier, who joined the club as a marquee at the start of the season.
Meier managed 12 games and scored once for the Red & Black.
“It’s a bit sad to lose Alex because he is a top pro, top person but I had a private conversation with him and I think we found the best solution,” explained Babbel.
“I don’t want to tell too much because it was a private conversation. There were a couple of reasons there. This is normal.
“For me, it was more important we were very honest with each other and found a solution. Thank you to Alex for everything he did.”