WSW prepare for season-defining fortnight

Defender Brendan Hamill (left) wants the Wanderers to step it up over the final six rounds.
Defender Brendan Hamill (left) wants the Wanderers to step it up over the final six rounds.

Dejected from their derby defeat but resolved to fight for a home A-League final, Western Sydney have shifted focus to two looming home games that could define their season.

Sunday night's 3-1 loss to Sydney FC was a bitter pill to swallow for the Wanderers, who rushed to an early lead before being picked apart by the sheer quality of Graham Arnold's premiers-in-waiting.

Defender Brendan Hamill didn't hide his disappointment at Allianz Stadium, the same venue where his side had squandered a two-goal lead to settle for a 2-2 draw in October, before December's demoralising 5-0 whitewash at ANZ Stadium.

But he was also keenly aware the final six rounds presented an opportunity for his revived side to mount an assault on the top four.

The most important may be the first two, with the Wanderers hosting strugglers Perth and Wellington over the next fortnight.

Claim all six points on offer and Josep Gombau's sixth-placed outfit could find themselves within touching distance of fourth-placed Melbourne Victory and third-placed Melbourne City - just in time to play them both at AAMI Park before wrapping up the regular season at home to Brisbane and Adelaide.

"They (the Glory and Phoenix games) are huge," Hamill said.

"Every game is a final for us. We said that a few weeks ago, that we'd take it game by game.

"That's our goal, finals football. And anything can happen in finals football. We're going for as high as we can.

"We're in touching distance of Victory and Adelaide, and City aren't too far ahead of them - and we've got to play all of them."

Gombau implored more patience based on the vast developments he'd already observed since taking charge and implementing a new philosophy nearly three months ago.

"At the beginning of the week I was watching the last (5-0) game, which is something normally I do when we play against the same team," Gombau said.

"The way we play three months ago and the way we play now is totally different, in terms of a lot of things we improve.

"Everything takes time. I've been at the club three months and a half and already you can see the team is playing different."

Meanwhile, Football Federation Australia warned it will catch individuals who ripped flares in the Wanderers' travelling active support bay.

A-League boss Greg O'Rourke thanked the 25,000 fans who braved severe rain to attend a thrilling clash only dampened by two flares lit in the opening 16 minutes.

"Last night did see flares ignited in the southern end of the stadium which is disappointing," O'Rourke said.

"The FFA and is working with police, the clubs and ground security to identify those individuals and once identified they will be subject to our normal processes."

Australian Associated Press