PERTH, AUSTRALIA — SEPTEMBER 03: Chris Ikonomidis of Australia acknowledges the supporters after winning the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualification match between the Australian Socceroos and Bangladesh at nib Stadium on September 3, 2015 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)
PERTH, AUSTRALIA — SEPTEMBER 03: Chris Ikonomidis of Australia acknowledges the supporters after winning the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualification match between the Australian Socceroos and Bangladesh at nib Stadium on September 3, 2015 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Bert’s presence spurs on Socceroos hopefuls

THERE'S more than points to play for when the Central Coast Mariners host the Western Sydney Wanderers on Sunday, with new Socceroos coach Bert Van Marwijk in Gosford attending his final A-League match of the weekend.

Both teams have struggled to find form this season, but the players will have an extra sting in their step with Van Marwijk watching on from the stands.

Wanderers new signing and Socceroos forward Chris Ikonomidis is to likely to make his debut for the club, while for the Mariners young star Daniel De Silva has already been mentioned as a possible bolter for the World Cup squad.

 

Wanderers right-back Josh Risdon, who made his Socceroos debut under Ange Postecoglou, says the players will definitely be motivated by Van Marwijk's presence.

"The fact that he's in Australia and will be watching and keeping a close eye on some A-League players gives us extra confidence to go out and do well on the weekend," Risdon said. "You obviously want to prove yourself and be amongst it for the World Cup, so it's a couple of important months for the players leading into that World Cup.

"He (Van Marwijk) does have some background on the Socceroos and we're looking forward to see what he can bring to the national team. Hopefully I'm involved in the next camp and obviously the World Cup, I've just got to focus on playing well in the A-League and hopefully I'll get a chance."

Josh Risdon of the Wanderers competes for possession with Connor Pain. Risdon says he will be motivated by Bert Van Marwijk’s presence.
Josh Risdon of the Wanderers competes for possession with Connor Pain. Risdon says he will be motivated by Bert Van Marwijk’s presence.

The Mariners' last win was two months ago, while the Wanderers have slipped out of the top six on the back of consecutive defeats.

But Gosford has been a happy hunting ground for Western Sydney and Risdon says the players have memories of their last trip there, when they beat the Mariners 2-0 to register Josep Gombau's first win for the club.

"That was a real massive boost for us when we went up there last time and hopefully we'll be able to take that confidence going into this weekend," Risdon said. "They're obviously not travelling the best either, so they'll be wanting to win. It's going to be a tough game, they play really good football, but if we do all the right things I'm confident we can win.

"We just need to focus on each game and if we can get a few wins on the board you can creep up that table and before you know it you're sitting in the top four."



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