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Bridge: Wanderers to maintain intensity

Western Sydney Wanderers striker Mark Bridge says the side will not suffer any mental letdown following the club’s debut last weekend.

After months of hype and excitement surrounding their entry to the competition, the Wanderers showed they will be competitive this season by holding heavyweights Central Coast to a 0-0 draw on Saturday night.

But the big challenge for Tony Popovic’s side will now be replicating that same effort and performance on a weekly basis, starting with a tough trip to Adelaide to face the Reds on Friday.

Bridge admitted there was still a huge buzz among the playing group following their solid start but stressed the importance to move on and focus on the next challenge.

“We always said win, lose or draw we were going to come in on Monday and work on things that need improvement and get prepared for our next match,” Bridge told reporters on Wednesday.

“It was a very good occasion, a good crowd and it was very exciting for football in Australia.

“As long as we keep performing well I’m sure the interest will stay there.

“But there’s pressure on every team, every week to play well.

“Maybe being the new team there is that little bit of pressure to be competitive, which we want to be, but if we keep working hard I’m sure we’ll be ok.”

Despite their impressive start Popovic may decide to tinker with his line-up to accommodate star recruit Shinji Ono.

The former Japanese international will have the benefit of another full week of training under his belt and would provide an extra attacking thrust to the Wanderers side.

Asked how Ono had settled into the squad, Bridge revealed: “He’s adapting well to the (players’ in-house) fine system.

“We’ve got him on a lot of things… little things off the pitch like leaving stuff behind and things like that, but he’ll get used to it.

“His English isn’t always the best but he understands what he owes and how much he owes at the end of the week which is great because I don’t have to run after him to collect it.

“But he looks good for only being here a week. He’s a massive player, a massive professional and I’m sure he’ll have a big year.”

Bridge, who played in the role just behind striker Dino Kresinger against the Mariners, may well be the unlucky player to miss out should Ono force his way into the starting side.

The former Sydney FC attacker was happy with his performance in the opening week but felt he should have scored with a one-on-one chance early in the second-half.

“I had that chance where (Mariners right-back) Pedj (Bojic) passed me the ball, it would have been a good assist, but my last touch let me down a bit,” Bridge said.

“Playing up behind the strikers is something I don’t do quite often so I was pretty happy with how I went.”

Wed 10 October, 2012
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