Wanderers’ Shannon Cole says the prospect of his team being ripped apart in the off-season is a huge motivating factor for Sunday's Grand Final in Brisbane.
Wanderers- Shannon Cole says the prospect of his team being ripped apart in the off-season is a huge motivating factor for Sunday's Hyundai A-League Grand Final in Brisbane.
The bulk of the Wanderers side which will meet Roar in the decider have been together for the last two seasons but Tony Popovic's squad is likely to have a very new look next season.
Marquee man Shinji Ono is one definitely leaving, heading back to play in his homeland Japan but a few other stars also face uncertain futures.
Aaron Mooy is joining Manchester City's revolution in Melbourne, Perth is a rumoured new home for Youssouf Hersi, while defenders Jerome Polenz, Matthew Spiranovic and Michael Beauchamp may also be heading for the exit door.
It's why with one last chance to land some silverware together with this group, Cole believes the close bond in the side will be a driving force against the Roar.
"We know the squad could break up a fair bit after this so there is definitely that want to get (a championship) together," Cole told www.footballaustralia.com.au.
"We've really seen in the last month or so that feeling of togetherness we have as a group. We really want to work hard for each other.
"You saw that in the last game of the season (against Melbourne Heart) and how happy everyone was together.
"That kind of feeling of togetherness is a big part of it and it does take a team like that to win things. It's a very positive environment to be a part of."
Cole is no stranger to grand final week having been part of the Wanderers side that lost last year's decider as well as winning a championship with Sydney FC in 2010.
He admits there is a very different feeling in the squad compared to last season and expects the Wanderers to be better prepared to deal with the occasion at Suncorp Stadium.
"Last year there was a crazy amount of hype about our first season and the fantastic run and all that, so there was all sorts of outside influence," Cole said.
"This year the teams very much focussed on ourselves and what we want to do.
"We didn't live up to our own expectations [last season] which was the biggest disappointment. We have a different group this year, there are different players but we have the same type of attitude we had since we started.
"We want to win, were working very hard to do exactly what we want out on the field and let the result take care of itself."
The versatile 29-year-old played at left-back in the loss to Central Coast in the 2013 grand final and could be forced to play left-wing on Sunday if Mark Bridge (ankle) is ruled out.
The pair are close mates having won the title together with Sydney FC four years ago and Cole is hopeful Bridge can prove his fitness.
"Bridgey is staying positive. It's obviously not the best timing to cop a blow like that but he's going to give it a go," Cole said.
"Every single player will tell you they've played with some kind of horrendous pain and discomfort that no one would know about and often you play your best games in those circumstances.
"Don't rule him out yet. I've known him for a while and if it happens then I'll do it but it's not about me. Whoever gets the job, as we've shown throughout the year, will do the job.
"Whether it's me or someone else it's not important as long as we get the win."