‘As soon as that game finished, we circled this one’ – Sydney Derby rematch a long time coming for Wilkinson
It has been 102 days since Western Sydney Wanderers upset Sydney FC and Sky Blues captain Alex Wilkinson has had revenge on his mind ever since.
The one blemish on the Hyundai A-League Champions’ near-perfect record in a history-making 2019/20 campaign was a 1-0 reverse in the first ever Sydney Derby at Bankwest Stadium on October 26, 2019.
Since a bullet header from Red and Black skipper Mitchell Duke took the wind out of Sydney’s sails, the blue side of the Harbour City has won 11 matches and gone 12 unbeaten.
For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction – and Sydney’s response has been remarkable – but Wilkinson admits that does not erase the events of that fateful night in Parramatta.
“I think as soon as that game finished, we circled this one, looking to get one back at them,” Wilkinson said, ahead of the 23rd Sydney Derby on Saturday, and first at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium.
“It’s pretty hard to be disappointed with the season, with how things have gone since then.
“I think we’ve picked up 34 out of the last 36 points since that game. The season has been unbelievable.
“We’d love to have that game again. It was one of our best performances of the year.
“It was just one of those games when the ball wouldn’t go in the net for whatever reason. We’ll rectify that this week.”
Steve Corica’s side have been unrelenting in 2019/20, racking up 40 points from 15 matches – an achievement no team has ever accomplished in Hyundai A-League history.
The four-time champions lead the ladder by an astonishing 13 points – the second biggest advantage in competition history after 15 games – but that is not enough for Wilkinson with an AFC Asian Champions League campaign on the horizon.
“I don’t think we’re ever comfortable ,” he added.
“There’s no way we’re going to rest on our laurels and be complacent about that.
“It’s about keep pushing forward, not looking too far ahead.
“With the [Asian Champions League] coming up, it’s important to take it game by game…
“There’s going to be some travel coming up and this is where we’re going to need to use the whole squad.
“We’ve got great depth and now every single player is going to be used over the next month, two months.
“It’s a great opportunity for guys who haven’t been playing to get solid minutes.”
Sydney FC v Western Sydney Wanderers
Saturday, 8 February 2020
Kick-off: 5pm AEDT
Venue: Netstrata Jubilee Stadium
Broadcast: ABC Me, FOX Sports 505
Stream: MyFootball Live App, Kayo Sports, ABC iView
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