Wanderers fighting hard to keep their Spanish aces

Western Sydney Wanderers accept it will be a good result if they manage to keep two of their three Spaniards for next season in the face of substantial interest from rival A-League clubs - but they're still hoping to pull off the bonus of re-signing all three.

Andreu Dimas Wanderers

Andreu has previously played in the A-League with the Wanderers Source: AAP

The Wanderers got a snap-shot of life without the Spanish trio - central defender Alberto and midfielders Andreu and Dimas - when all three were unavailable for last weekend's game against Wellington Phoenix and it didn't look good.

Phoenix, ninth on the table, walloped the second-placed Wanderers 5-2 at Pirtek Stadium.

The Wanderers get two of the three back for Saturday night's massive, sold-out, derby game against Sydney FC at Allianz Stadium.


Dimas returns from injury and Andreu from suspension, while Alberto is still out as he completes a two-game ban.

Andreu, Dimas and Alberto are all off contract at the end of the season with the club hierarchy in discussions with them about new deals. However, the Wanderers face the same difficulties as they did when trying to re-sign numerous players at the end of their second year in the A-League.

The Wanderers had established themselves as a major competitive force and interest in their star players from other clubs forced their asking prices up. The club kept some of the bigger names while others left.

The fact that, after a disappointing third season, the club is riding high on the table again this season after the influx of numerous new faces - who have performed very well - has put similar pressure on the Wanderers to stay under the salary cap.

The World Game understands that while the Wanderers are still hopeful of keeping their Spanish armada at Pirtek Stadium, the club have an order of preference.

Central Coast Mariners and Perth Glory are reportedly among the clubs interested in coaxing one, or more, of the Spaniards away for next season.

Meanwhile, Kearyn Baccus, one of the players who slotted into the Wanderers midfield against Wellington and remains in the squad to play Sydney FC, said coach Tony Popovic didn't spend much time on a debrief of that shock loss at training.

"We didn't really talk too much about it because it was just one of those games," Baccus said.

"'Popa' said it was bound to happen eventually because we hadn't had one of those kind of games for the whole season.

"It was one of those games you try to forget. You move on and focus on finishing off the rest of the season strong. No-one spent too much time on it.

"We normally do video analysis and stuff on games before and after we play them but we didn't really spend much time on that one afterwards.

"Like a lot of people I was very surprised by the result, but that's football, I guess."

Sydney won the first two derbies this season and are unbeaten in the last six against the Wanderers, with five wins and a draw. The Wanderers haven't won a derby game since January 2014 but they did clearly play the better football without getting the necessary goals in the past two outings against the Sky Blues.

Baccus said the run of derby results was hard to take but that the players knew they could turn it around and were right up for this latest clash.

"It's a derby game, so people are going to be more hyped and more pumped about it," he said.

"We've been doing video analysis on them and working on how we play and the way we want to play in certain areas against them.

"It's frustrating not to have won a derby for a while, especially with us playing the better football this season and dominating for so much of the game and then them finding the winner late.

"This is our last derby game before the finals and we don't want to lose again, that's for sure."

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4 min read
Published 20 February 2016 at 10:12am
By Greg Prichard
Source: SBS