Wanderers midfielder Kearyn Baccus feels the occasion on Sydney derby day as much as anyone in the stands.
Raised in Kings Park, matches against Sydney FC are more than a game to Baccus.
“Being a western Sydney boy playing for the Wanderers in the derby means a lot to me. It’s massive,” he said.
“Even if I had a broken leg I’d want to be out there.”
Western Sydney will host their bitter rivals at ANZ Stadium on Saturday night.
Three points for the Wanderers would not only break a three-year wait for derby success; it would hand the club its first win at its temporary home, and possibly elevate the Red and Black into the finals positions.
Baccus, 25, spent a season in the Sky Blues’ youth team in 2008/09, before Western Sydney entered the A-League.
He respects his cross-town rivals, who he said have had “a great season up until this point”.
Sydney FC sit top of the pile this season and remain undefeated after 19 rounds.
The Wanderers languish in seventh place – 26 points behind Saturday’s opponents – and need a win to have any chance of overtaking Newcastle Jets into the top six this week.
After a shock 2-nil loss to Central Coast Mariners on Sunday, Baccus said the club’s luck had to change soon.
“We are always confident going into the derby,” he said.
“It’s been a tough year at times but we’ve never dropped our heads. That comes down to the message from Popa and the coaching staff.
“I still feel we can make the semi-finals and maybe go all the way.”
Brendon Santalab’s 86th minute strike gave the Wanderers its last derby victory in a 1-0 win on January 11, 2014.
Baccus said his teammates would not be deterred by their barren spell in arguably the competition’s biggest fixture.
“I think we were unlucky in our last game against them [a 0-all draw at Allianz Stadium last month],” he said.
“They have been good but they can’t go the whole season undefeated. I think this weekend is a good opportunity for us.”
Baccus, who has enjoyed a breakthrough year on the field, has faced personal challenges this season. He came under scrutiny after being charged with common assault following an incident in Arncliffe on January 5.
The Wanderers stood by its midfielder throughout the process.
“After what I’ve been through over the past few weeks, a win on Saturday would mean a lot. I can’t really put it into words,” Baccus said.
- Western Sydney Wanderers host Sydney FC at ANZ Stadium on Saturday, February 18. Kick off is at 7.50pm.