Western Sydney Wanderer’s coach Carl Robinson and club management are facing a tough week after last Friday night’s 5-4 loss to lowly Melbourne Victory.
Despite the Red & Black coming back from 5-1 down to nearly snatch a crucial point, the pressure is on at Wanderland after six games without a win has seen the Wanderers drop out of the Top Six.
With rumours circulating that former Victory boss Kevin Muscat coach is being lined up for his job, Robinson is defiant as his team prepare for a Saturday night local derby against bitter rivals Sydney.
The former Newcastle Jets coach, who moved down to Wanderland over the summer, insists his players will be ready to go.
“I shouldn’t need to get them up for the derby game, we know that, we have gone a period of games without winning, we know that,” said Robinson after Friday night’s loss.
“We don’t need to get ourselves up for a derby game. If you haven’t got pride wearing that jersey you shouldn’t wear that jersey.”
While disappointed with the loss, Robinson did take heart from the way the team came back against Victory.
“When you are 5-1 down away from home it’s easy to bow your heads and go under. If there is any positive to come out of a negative situation, we nearly clawed ourselves back and probably should have in the end. We didn’t deserve it but we could have and should have.”
Robinson also believes his team can still play finals, despite currently sitting in eighth position with teams around them having played less games.
There are six teams separated by five points but Brisbane Roar have four games in hand compared to the Wanderers and are only two points behind, Western United have two games in hand and are two points ahead.
This weekend’s opponents the Sky Blues are three points ahead with a game in hand, but the Wanderers play them twice in the run home including this Saturday night’s game.
“I have full belief in this team and I still think we can play finals,” said Robinson. “We need to get out of this funk pretty quickly. We have drawn too many games. We have lost too many recently.
“Earlier in the season we were picking up points but missing opportunities to win games of football.”
Robinson also hasn’t ruled out signing new players before the end of the season but preferred to focus on Saturday night’s game.
“We are always looking," he said. "Whether we will or not will be a separate question. I will concentrate on the work I’ve got ahead with these boys. We have a great game ahead and will pick ourselves up for a massive derby game.”
Meanwhile the club’s active fan group the ‘Red and Black Bloc’, made their feelings known with a banner put up in the early hours of Monday morning at the club’s training ground in Rooty Hill, targeting club CEO John Tsatsimas.
The banner demanded change at the top as the Wanderers stare down the barrel of a fourth consecutive year without finals action.
The banner was put up on a high perimeter fence with flares being lit in the background. A photo was taken that was displayed on the active group’s Facebook account.
The banner was met with plenty of support from fans on Facebook, many of whom believe the club’s recruitment policy regarding players and coaches has been flawed.
Robinson is the club’s fourth coach since Tony Popovic left after the 2016/17 season - the last time the Wanderers experienced finals action.
Despite the antipathy of the fans, the Wanderers have built a $30 million facility at Rooty Hill under Tsatsimas’ watch. The club’s youth program is considered one of the best in the country with a number of products from their system in the A-League squad.
Tsatsimas has been a passionate advocate of the club being a team that represents the people of western Sydney. He has talked openly about his hurt at the club’s struggles on the field and his commitment to bringing back the club’s glory days.
Saturday night’s game is the perfect platform for the Wanderers to win back the fans. Kick-off is 7.10pm at BankWest Stadium.