Heffernan calm despite Wanderers’ woeful season start

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Western Sydney Wanderers coach Dean Heffernan insists he is “relaxed” despite his side suffering a 3-0 loss in their season-opening match against Sydney FC on Wednesday.

The Wanderers weren’t at the races against their cross-town rivals, as Sydney FC cruised to victory through Princess Ibini’s magnificent double and a further goal from ex-Wanderer Cortnee Vine.

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Heffernan has very little time to review his side’s performance with their next match against Newcastle Jets just two days away, but he remains confident in their ability.

“Everyone is obviously disappointed, because we all know that we’re so much than that,” Heffernan said post-game.

“It’s not a nice way to lose a game of football… But honestly, I’m very relaxed because I know we’ve got so much more than that. We know that, and that’s the good thing about it, so we’re still confident.”

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Heffernan highlighted that the Wanderers’ preparations have been disrupted by COVID-19, after they had a number of trial matches scrapped and W-League fixtures rescheduled. He admits it will be difficult to deal with such a short turnaround heading into the Jets match but expects his young squad to step up to the challenge.

“Having another game in three days doesn’t help,” he said.

“We haven’t had W-League competition to play against in trial games… and now to have just a few days to recover from a tough game in round one, it is going to be difficult, but the girls will be ready. We’ve got a lot of young girls that are keen and excited to get an opportunity, and they will.

“We had five W-League debutants tonight, and there will be another one on Saturday as well.”

The Wanderers had little luck on the injury front against Sydney FC, either.

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Star forward Leena Khamis was forced off at halftime after sustaining an eye injury which obscured her vision, along with midfielder Georgia Yeoman-Dale who is battling a niggle in her knee. Heffernan could not guarantee either would be fit to take on the Jets but showered both in praise.

“Leena doesn’t go off for just anything,” he said.

“She’s a proper leader and we’re lucky to have her. We might have to physically stop her from playing if she’s not fit for Newcastle.

“And Georgia has been brilliant, it’s just a little niggle in her knee that we can’t quite figure out. We’ll try to sort that out over the next couple of days.”

Western Sydney will host the Newcastle Jets at Wanderers Centre of Football on Saturday night as part of the revised W-League schedule.

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Jye Campbell
Journalism student at Western Sydney. Love my football (#lazoumance) and rugby league (#pantherpride). Advocate for FIFA Career Modes. Covering Western Sydney Wanderers in both A-League and W-League for the 2020/21 season.