Soc­ceroo Ris­don seeks south­ern ex­po­sure at new fran­chise

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - - Football - TOM SMITHIES & EMMA KEMP

WESTERN Syd­ney’s re­build­ing un­der Markus Babbel is un­likely to fea­ture Josh Ris­don.

The Soc­ceroos full­back is be­lieved to have agreed to a two-year deal with A-League en­trants Western Mel­bourne.

It’s un­der­stood Ris­don, 26, has held ad­vanced talks with the con­sor­tium be­hind the new club and all in­di­ca­tions are the deal will be an­nounced im­mi­nently.

Ris­don’s pro­file has risen dra­mat­i­cally over the past year af­ter he im­pressed at the World Cup un­der Bert van Mar­wijk, and there had been spec­u­la­tion he would seek a move to Europe.

But the right-back has been courted by the new A-League club, whose name is set to be de­cided by a fan poll.

The de­par­ture of Ris­don will come as a blow for Western Syd­ney as Babbel con­tem­plates a sig­nif­i­cant over­haul of the squad in the off-sea­son with 12 more play­ers com­ing off con­tract.

In a fur­ther blow to the Wan­der­ers, there are grow­ing fears de­fender Pa­trick Ziegler will not play again this sea­son.

The club is likely to seek a sec­ond opin­ion on the knee in­jury which has re­stricted his in­volve­ment this sea­son. It comes af­ter the strug­gling club recorded only its third win of the sea­son on Satur­day, see­ing off last-placed Cen­tral Coast 2-0 in a scrappy af­fair de­cided by goals from Tarek El­rich and Jaushua Sotirio ei­ther side of half­time.

“Some­thing changed in the week,” Sotirio said. “I don’t know, just got the con­fi­dence back. We def­i­nitely needed it as well.

“The coach­ing staff and ev­ery­one, we all harped on about how im­por­tant it was, about keep­ing a clean sheet and scor­ing goals.

“We’ve been play­ing some good matches, we haven’t been get­ting the out­comes, but def­i­nitely the win helps us get mo­men­tum for the re­main­ing games.”

The re­sult lifted the Wan­der­ers back into eighth place, 14 points adrift of the top six.

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