Mark Bridge claims that since having joined Wanderers FC he finally feels like he is finally home.
The Sydney Derby has an added edge for Mark Bridge. After years at Sydney FC, the Wanderers recruit admits he is finally at home for the first time in his professional career.
It-s beyond question that the Hyundai A-League-s newest derby already has plenty of baggage, but for Bridge it-s a chance to put one over his former club and really get Western Sydney off to a flying start.
“Everyone always wants to play for a team from where they are from,” Bridge told footballaustralia.com.au. “It-s exciting for me to represent my area, family and all the Western Sydney people.”
“Sydney FC wasn-t really my home team; it took me an hour and a half to get to training and games, so to have a team out west is close to home, it-s a great thing and hopefully we do them all proud on Saturday.”
Doing the fans proud is one thing - going down as the scorer of the Wanderers first goal is another. There have been few chances to date, but in 180 minutes of football no player has find the net, and while Bridge would like to put his name in the history books, he would just as soon settle for a win over the Sky Blues.
“That would be great (to score), but as long as we win and it-s a great game I-ll be happy. if I score it-s an added bonus,” he said.
“The winning team gets bragging rights until the next game and it-s also the first ever Sydney Derby, it-s a massive moment for football in Australia and winning it would be huge.”
Neither Sydney side have earned a win in the first two rounds of the season, despite each having made major marquee signings in Alessandro Del Piero and Shinji Ono, but if the edge on form, it-s with the Wanderers, who have put in two resolute performances. And they will have to maintain that defensive strength in the face of a Sydney FC not only out to prove they are the dominant side but boast the competition-s biggest signing in their ranks.
Bridge, though, remains confident his new club can get the job done, lauding their early season form.
“We-re pretty happy with how we have gone so far; a draw with Central Coast and a late loss against Adelaide that I don-t think we really deserved.
“Sydney will come out hard though; they are a passing football team and are very fit. Hopefully we can match that come Saturday, and with it being a derby I think it will be very feisty early on, there will be a few tackles thrown about, a quick pace it-s just a matter of which team gets on top.”
One way the Wanderers can get on top is through the partisan sell-out crowd at Parramatta Stadium. Sydney FC are no stranger to jeers, even from their own fans, and will likely be public enemy No.1 this weekend
“I think the majority of the crowd will be our fans. It will be great to have a sell-out crowd, we had a solid 10,000 at our first round match and they were very vocal and very entertaining throughout the whole game, I-m sure if they are like that again we will see the benefits.”