Ono: Wanderers like a family

Shinji Ono said his decision to re-sign with Western Sydney was never about money and admits his time at the club is something he's never experienced before.

Shinji Ono said his decision to re-sign with Western Sydney was never about money and admits his time at the club is something he's never experienced before.

In a huge boost for the Wanderers ahead of Saturday night's derby with Sydney FC, Ono put pen to paper on a new one-year deal with the Hyundai A-League newcomers.

The former Japanese international is believed to have turned down a number of lucrative offers from China and Japan to remain in Sydney's west.

Ono's impressive career seemed to have stalled before he joined the Wanderers and he was happy to repay their faith by pledging his future to the club.

"Money was not important," Ono told reporters on Friday.

"What is important is where I enjoy playing.

"I have many good friends, team-mates and the best coaching staff.

"This place is really like family. When I played at another club I've never felt like that."

Ono, who missed last weekend's record-breaking 3-1 win over the Melbourne Heart with a hamstring injury, is confident of being right to take on the Sky Blues at Parramatta Stadium on Saturday night.

The Wanderers' incredible debut season could reach an even greater height against their hometown rivals if they win because that would secure them the Premiers' Plate with one game still to play.

But the 33-year-old midfielder said his side couldn't get too far ahead of themselves, especially coming up against a Sky Blues side desperate for victory to secure a finals berth.

"There's two games left and we don't know what can happen," Ono said.

"We have to keep concentration and keep going with the same mentality for (Saturday's) game.

"This game is special for the supporters who live in Sydney, the derby is a special event but my mentality and everything is the same as any game."

Wanderers coach Tony Popovic said he would see how his marquee man recovered following Friday's training session before deciding whether to include him against Sydney.

Ono's return is crucial for the Wanderers who are without three key players in Aaron Mooy, Jerome Polenz (both injured) and the suspended Youssouf Hersi.

Popovic said Ono's re-signing had given everyone a real lift ahead of the derby.

"He has been fantastic for us ... he's a true gentlemen off the field and a fantastic player on it," the Wanderers boss said.

"He's a real creative spark for this team and it will be great to work with him for another season.

"He enjoys Sydney, loves it here and loves the club. I'm sure it certainly wasn't a financial decision but his happiness on and off the field is a big contributor."

Asked about the intense rivalry with the Sky Blues in just one season, Popovic said: "It's building and you can sense that and I'm sure in time it will be the biggest rivalry in our game.

"With the stadium being sold out so quickly after tickets went on sale, it shows you the interest of this game.

"Everyone's looking forward to it and it will be a special occasion.

"(But) it's still just three points on the line, we're focused on this match and we'll do everything we can to maintain this winning streak."