The pending return of Mark Bridge could enhance the Western Sydney Wanderers in more ways than one, says Markus Babbel.
All-time Wanderers leading goal-scorer Bridge suffered a calf strain in August and was originally ruled out for at least a month.
While the 33-year-old is still ‘four or five weeks’ away from making his long-awaited comeback, Babbel is banking on the veteran’s predatory instincts and leadership ability when he returns.
“He’s very unlucky because he’s a player who can make a difference for us,” Babbel said.
“Also, he’s an experienced guy. There are many, many young players in our squad, he’s also one of these players who can help them because they listen to him.
“We miss him, but it is like it is – we have to wait.”
Babbel’s side are aiming to respond against Newcastle Jets in Friday’s rebel Female Football Round opener after letting a two-goal lead slide in their draw with Brisbane Roar two weeks earlier.
That performance underlined the positive streaks emerging under the German boss's tutelage, but was also a reminder of the progress still to be made if the Red and Black are to become genuine Hyundai A-League title contenders.
“This is a process, it takes time,” Babbel said.
“I was watching our squad without the goalkeepers… we have 12 players over 22 and 11 players under 22.
“This is a process, the young ones they have to learn and also the older guys, they have to keep their level up.
“It’s not going from one day to the other day, but if I look back and I see where we started to now we did a great improvement.
“If we can keep going like this then we will be in the right way.”