Wanderers eyeing sudden-death Sydney Derby Final

Western Sydney Wanderers are champing at the bit at the prospect of marking their long-awaited finals return with a sudden-death Sydney derby.

The Wanderers are locked into fourth place and a home elimination final, ending a six-year finals drought, after Friday’s 3-2 loss to Melbourne City.

Bar Sydney FC (35 points, minus 1 goal difference) copping a heavy loss to Newcastle and Wellington (32 points, minus 7) thumping Macarthur on Saturday, the Sky Blues will finish fifth – and earn a tantalising match-up with their fierce rivals.

“I’m supremely confident for next week. I can’t wait,” coach Marko Rudan told reporters. 

“Unless there’s a massive boilover, it’s going to be a derby and we can’t wait for that. 

“We’re at our home ground and we’re playing some great football. We’ll continue to do that. They’re disappointed in there, but they’ll be fine. We’ll be fine.”

The WandererÕs Marcelo, Sydney FCÕs Joe Lolley, WSW Brandon Borrello and FCÕs James Donachie at Allianz Stadium ahead of the A-League Derby this weekend against the Western Sydney Wanderers. Photo by Phil Hillyard

The past three Sydney derbies have been bitterly fiery affairs, including Rudan and Sky Blues counterpart Steve Corica trading barbs.

“In this game, you’ve got to beat all the opponents in the top six, to go all the way, it’s important,” Rudan said.

“We’ve beaten Sydney twice and we’ll take a lot of confidence out of that. We beat Wellington, another team that’s in the six right now, by four goals as well and we’ve taken it to most other teams. We’ve beaten Central Coast.

“In finals football, it’s purely about the next game without looking too far ahead and it’s going to be a great game.”

There will be plenty of focus on the impressive Wanderers ahead of their first finals campaign since 2016-17.

“I’m not going to put any pressure on them,” Rudan said.

“The week’s going to be the week. They know, players are smart enough to understand what’s going on. I’ve got some big players in that dressing room who love the big occasion. So we can’t wait, we’re looking forward to it.

Rudan lamented lapses in concentration that contributed to all three goals conceded against City but was confident they were quick-fixes.

“These are the moments that we need to be better at, particularly in finals football – small detail is what counts,” he said.

“I always say there are big fixes and long fixes and then there are the smaller ones. These are the smaller ones.

“I’ve got a bunch of winners in there who never give in and never give up and that’s been a constant motto throughout the season for us too.

“They’re not gonna give in, I’ve got no doubt. They’re disappointed right now but we’ll turn them around very, very quickly and there’s a lot of good stuff.”