Cole ready to do battle against former team Sydney FC

Shannon Cole of the Wanderers (R) competes with Joshua Risdon of the Glory during the round 22 A-League match between the Western Sydney Wanderers and the Perth Glory at Parramatta Stadium on February 23, 2013 in Sydney, Australia.
Shannon Cole of the Wanderers (R) competes with Joshua Risdon of the Glory during the round 22 A-League match between the Western Sydney Wanderers and the Perth Glory at Parramatta Stadium on February 23, 2013 in Sydney, Australia. Brendon Thorne / Getty Images

DESPITE being cut from Sydney FC at the end of last season, Wanderers defender Shannon Cole has no regrets.

And why would he after joining a team that is on its way to winning the Premiers' Plate in its inaugural season?

Tonight's Sydney Derby at a sold-out Parramatta Stadium shapes as the biggest one yet - the Wanderers are playing for the title, and the Sky Blues need to win to stay in the top six.

But the 28-year-old said he had extra motivation to beat his old team.

"It's such a good set-up here - it was an easy transition for me. I've still got a lot of friends at Sydney FC, but I love the environment at Western Sydney," Cole said.

"We haven't put a lot of focus on the fact it's a derby - it's still just another game worth three points."

After being cut by the Sky Blues after 95 appearances, Cole suffered some injury woes which he chose to keep to himself.

But he and his teammates have certainly come a long way this season under Tony Popovic, a former teammate and assistant coach when he was at the Sky Blues.

"It's hard to look ahead into the future and predict how you're going to go. But we're performing quite well, and that's a reward for all the hard work we've put in," he said.

Quite well is an understatement considering the Wanderers have won a record 10 straight matches.

Cole said Popovic's attention to detail had been a big factor in the success.

"He hasn't just been good in his advice to me about defending - he has a very good overall understanding of the game," Cole said.

He also said while he and fellow defender Nikolai Topor-Stanley had received plenty of credit for their work this season, they would have to be on their toes again tonight against a star-studded Sky Blues forward half.

"Sydney FC has some very dangerous attacking players. We're going to have to defend well as a team if we want to stop guys like Alessandro Del Piero and Joel Griffiths," Cole said.



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