The Western Sydney Wanderers current run of three defeats in four games has only been exacerbated by the departure of American star striker Lynn Williams, and the pending suspension of another American import, Kristen Hamilton.
However, these major blows have been softened by the fact there is plenty of local talent available for the Wanderers, who now have a golden opportunity to step up to the plate.
Last weekend’s derby saw midfielder Chloe Middleton player her second W-League game for the Wanderwomen.
Middleton was upgraded to the senior squad last month, making her debut against Adelaide United just before the international break.
Last Saturday, despite only playing 10 minutes, she showed glimpses of her potential with some neat touches and exciting runs.
The 20-year-old admits she has gained a lot from being part of the matchday W-League squad.
“After making my debut a few weeks ago in Adelaide, even though we lost, it was such a good experience to get out there and get a feel for the speed of the game,” she said.
“Going into the game against Sydney I had an idea of what to expect when I took the field this time, I was nervous but excited to get out there again.”
The Illawarra Stingray’s NPLW team-mate of injured skipper Erica Halloway, former Matilda Caitlin Cooper and midfielder Liana Danaskos, is touted as a player of the future.
She had an excellent 2019 campaign with the Stingrays, scoring five goals in 22 games as her team finished fifth and made the finals.
She netted a key goal in the epic 5-4 elimination final win over Blacktown Spartans.
This was after a strong 2018 season where she played 21 games with the Stingrays coming second.
Middleton, who hails from Moss Vale in the Southern Highlands, has been part of the training squad at the Wanderers this season but was elevated after Denise O’Sullivan left last month and Halloway’s season ending knee injury.
Middleton’s distinctive red bow is sure to make her a fan favourite as the Wanderwomen look to get their season back on track this Thursday night at Marconi Stadium against raging title favourites Melbourne City.
Middleton is confident her team will be able to overcome the hurdles that have been put in front of them, and is thrilled at being a part of it.
“Losing Lynn and Kristen for this week’s game is a massive loss to our team, but I believe our team has what it takes and can get the win over Melbourne City on Thursday night, it’s super exciting to be given a chance to play with these girls.
“I think the key for us is to just focus on our own game, having confidence in our individual ability, and as a team.
"We have what it takes to turn it around, we just need to believe. Our team has the potential to be the best, we have a strong team culture and a supportive network of people who are backing us 100%.”
Middleton is full of praise for the culture within the team, admitting she is blessed to be part of such a positive learning environment.
“The most exciting thing about being part of the Wanderers this year is being around such great players and being able to learn from them, this opportunity has been amazing, I couldn’t have asked for a better team to be apart of.”