Football 2 years ago

Wanderers readying for Berisha onslaught

  • Wanderers readying for Berisha onslaught

Western Sydney striker Mark Bridge doesn't envy those of his teammates tasked with stopping Besart Berisha on Saturday night.

He's just thankful it's not his problem.

Melbourne Victory's prolific marquee man has shown no sign of slowing this A-League season with six goals from seven appearances.

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While second to Melbourne City's Bruno Fornaroli (seven) on the scoring chart, Berisha's 0.86 goals per game is the highest in the competition.

Bridge said on Friday he felt for skipper Nikolai Topor-Stanley and fellow defenders who will have to contend with the recently re-signed Albanian when the table-topping Wanderers host second-ranked Victory at Pirtek Stadium.

"He's quality isn't he? He's probably the best striker in the league at the moment - for a long time, actually," Bridge said.

"The defenders have obviously spoken about him this week and I'm sure they'll have their plans to nullify him."

The Wanderers will have their hands full with Kevin Muscat's flashy frontmen and Bridge was in no doubt the quest to extend their six-match winning streak against the reigning champions would be tough.

However, injury issues aside, the 30-year-old is in fine form himself with a goal in each of his last three matches and two assists to boot this season.

Bridge had to sit out Western Sydney's win over Central Coast two weeks ago when he pulled up sore during the pre-match warm-up and was subbed off on the hour mark last Saturday having netted the opener against Brisbane Roar.

However, after completing full training sessions this week the tightly managed forward was feeling good.

"I hope you just didn't jinx me," he joked.

"I'm hoping my body is still going well at the end of the year.

"We have a good medical staff and smart coaches ... they'll be smart with monitoring players week in, week out."

The Wanderers will have confidence on their side as they float three points clear of Victory on the league summit.

Bridge said the return of active supporter group the Red and Black Bloc following last weekend's boycott will help against such a high-quality outfit.

"It was a strange feeling against Brisbane, especially after Mitch's (Nichols) goal - which was such a good goal - you want them there to celebrate those moments," he said.

"We're glad it's over and we're looking forward to having them back."

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