Brendon Santalab says Western Sydney’s drought-breaking A-League win over Perth Glory will count for little unless they can back it up this weekend against the in-form Jets.
The Wanderers head up the F3 on Saturday afternoon to face the in-form Newcastle Jets, boosted by their 1-0 win over Glory to open their account for 2015/16 last Sunday.
The gritty victory has eased the pressure and lifted the mood at Wanderland but Santalab says it’s vital they back it up with another three points at Hunter Stadium this weekend.
“It’s an opportunity to show everyone where we’re heading and we’re where at,” he told Sky Sports Radio on Thursday.
“Backing up the win we had against Perth is vital for us.
“We have a very new side, there was a lot of changes last season so it’s going to take a little bit of time to gel together but we can see we’re moving in a forward direction and that’s what’s important to us.
“They [Jets] recruited well in the offseason and had a big win last weekend in Melbourne. It’s going to be a tough one for us.”
The 33-year-old made his first appearance of the campaign against Glory after an injury-disrupted pre-season.
It’s been a frustrating last 12 months for the ex-Sydney FC attacker, managing just a handful of appearances due to a range of ailments.
But it hasn’t affected his popularity with the Wanderers fans.
Santalab received a massive ovation when he entered the fray late-on against Glory, replacing mis-firing Italian marquee Federico Piovaccari.
“I was a little bit surprised actually but obviously very nice to receive an applause like that,” he admitted.
“I’m very thankful to the fans for the support they have shown me over the last year when I’ve had a tough time with injuries. I’m just delighted to have that applause when I came on.
“I was really fit and looking well in the pre-season then unfortunately I suffered a little injury,” he added.
“I still have to get my match fitness there and that’s going to take a little bit of time. I’d love to start the games but I’m probably not their yet, I’m still building.”
A fully fit Santalab would be a huge bonus for the Wanderers, especially with Piovaccari yet to find his feet in the Hyundai A-League.
The Wanderers will have to overcome a poor away record if they are to topple the Jets, having won just once on the road in their last 16 A-League matches. Though it is the venue where they confirmed the Premiership in 2013.