Experience will count

EXTRA FIREPOWER: Ryan Griffiths trains with the Wanderers squad after being signed by the club in the January transfer window. Western Sydney play Wellington on Saturday.RYAN Griffiths brings a lot to the Wanderers, but his experience in Asia will be invaluable.

It’s always a boost to have another attacking option at the club, even though you would like to have as much game time as possible.

They are crucial weeks ahead, trying to juggle a push for A-League finals, as well as starting our Asian Champions League campaign.

The ACL games are played in a completely different style, where a lot of Asian teams like to sit off you more andit’s not as physical.

It’s also about managing the home and away legs and qualifying for the knockout stages, so Ryan’s knowledge after playing in the top Asian leagues, including China, will be very important.

We’re without Lachy Scott this week, among others, as part of the Young Socceroos commitments, so Ryan comes into the squad at an important time.

After playing against Ryan in China, I’ve also played with his brother Joel and used to live with brother Adam while in Belgium.

So I’m familiar with the family, how Ryan plays and confident he will score some important goals.

After the trip to Brisbane, we spent a long day travelling to New Zealand.

We left Sydney early on Thursday morning and didn’t make it to Plymouth, where we will play against the Phoenix, until 7pm New Zealand time.

But after the disappointment of conceding the late goal to lose toBrisbane, we must be prepared to do whatever it takes to take three points away on Saturday.

The Jets win over Melbourne City has further complicated the finals picture, though we’re only two points behind them and one behind the Phoenix.

However, we’ve been playing too well over the past month to be denied the wins we need for too much longer.

They will come.

It was frustrating against Brisbane, to fight back and equalise, then be down to 10 men for the final minutes.

Scott Neville’s second yellow became our fifth red for the season, as I’ve been guilty of myself, having spent three weeks on the sidelines as a result.

They become very costly when you’re fighting for important points and concede a late goal like on Saturday.

The coach (Tony Popovic) is big on enforcing discipline among the squad, so he’s disappointed at the send-offs we’ve had and expects more from us. It was all the more difficult to accept the loss when (Roar goalkeeper)Theo made a great save to stop my shot and then I was denied a penalty at 1-all.

I was pulled back three times, but they are the decisions which sometimes just don’t come when you’re fighting for form and momentum.

And playing in the ACL will be a key part of it, sometimes juggling two competitions can be a handful.But we’re confident performing well in the ACL will help ensure we make the A-League finals as well.

Rivals teams, fans and criticsshould not underestimate us, even though the season hasn’t reached the heights we would have liked so far.

The argument tony Popovic has achieved all he can at the Wanderers is a little bit silly.

He’s built this teamfrom a blank piece of paper and in five years has achieved amazing success, the envy of the competition.

ACL trophies, as well as Premier’s Plates do not come easily.Popa has also knocked back offers from overseas to continue his mission here and hopefully he will still be around to see us win the grand final as well.


Saturday (5.35pm AEDT)

Yarrow Stadium, New Plymouth

TV: Live on Fox Sports 4

Ladder: SYDNEY FC 43, MELBOURNE VICTORY 32, BRISBANE ROAR 27, MELBOURNE CITY 26, PERTH GLORY 21, NEWCASTLE JETS 20, Wellington Phoenix 19, Western Sydney Wanderers 18, Central Coast Mariners 13, Adelaide United 11.

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