Babbel’s advice to nullify Jamie Maclaren

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Ahead of their meeting on Friday night, Western Sydney Wanderers manager Markus Babbel is wary of the sizeable threat posed by ladder leaders Melbourne City and their red-hot marksman Jamie Maclaren.

The third-placed Wanderers will welcome the competition’s early pacesetters to Bankwest Stadium after enjoying a week off due to the bye.

Both clubs have enjoyed strong starts to the season, and are looking to rebound from a maiden defeat in their last fixture.

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Babbel is well aware that his side must be at their best if they are to go toe-to-toe with City during their round seven encounter.

“There are some reasons why Melbourne City is on top of the table,” he said.

“They are a strong side and bring good intensity on the pitch and if we are not prepared then they have the quality to beat us.

“If we bring our quality then we can beat them especially on our home ground.”

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City’s danger-man is undoubtedly Jamie Maclaren, who returned from a hamstring injury last time out with a hat-trick during his side’s 4-3 defeat to former club Brisbane Roar.

With an imposing record of seven goals in three outings this campaign, Babbel revealed the advice he granted to the defenders who are charged with the tall order of stopping the Socceroos striker.

“Maclaren is top striker so we know what’s going on, so it is up to us now to handle this,” he said.

“He is smart and not a player who will beat three, four or five players. He is doing fantastic forward runs and in the box, if you give him space he is taking it.

“What I showed the boys is that if they are not close enough with him then you have a problem.”

Babbel believes that his squad are “looking good” after using the weekend off to their advantage.

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He also confirmed that Tarek Elrich is set to feature for the first time since round one and the club’s late arrivals have made significant progress on the road to full fitness.

“For us, it was an important break because we have some players who we could work with individually because they came late (and were) not 100% fit, so it helped us a lot.

“For late arrivals Nicolai Muller and Alex Meier, it was very important for them and it was also the case for the players who have already played a lot this season.

“All the boys looked very fresh at training yesterday.”

Feature image credit: Jaime Castaneda

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Chris Curulli
Chris Curulli
Passionate Sports Media student and all round football obsessive, covering the Western Sydney Wanderers for the 2019/20 season.

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