Basement ALW clubs meet in Wellington

January 01, 2023 11:36 AM AEDT | By AAPNEWS
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Western Sydney Wanderers are pinning their hopes of a breakthrough A-League Women result on new star striker Sarina Bolden.

The Wanderers kick off 2023 in New Zealand on Monday with a fixture against fellow cellar dwellers Wellington Phoenix.

Western Sydney and Wellington remain pointless after their opening five matches, a dire run that will be snapped by at least one team at Sky Stadium.

Kat Smith's side's streak is particularly poor: the Wanderers have not scored since November and have failed to win in almost a year, since a 1-0 victory over Brisbane Roar on January 9, 2022.

"We've had a tough run," midfielder Danika Matos admitted.

"We're trying to work on getting the net moving, the ball in the back of it."

The Wanderers hope Philippines international Bolden, who signed this week and is available to make her debut, can be a game-changer.

The US-born striker has scored 17 international goals for Alen Stajcic's World Cup-bound team, and will be out to rack up crucial experience in Australia and New Zealand ahead of the July tournament.

Matos said the new arrival was a "great addition" to the squad.

"She's a true nine, she's so strong on the ball and has great vision," she said.

"She is there to score goals and that is exactly what we need. We're hoping she comes along and gets a few in the back of the net."

The Phoenix have also struggled, with new coach Natalie Lawrence hinting in a press conference on Sunday at selection problems.

"We're going to do a couple of last-minute fitness tests," she said.

Captain Lily Alfeld and deputy Kate Taylor remain out, although Lawrence said the skipper was back in training this week and was not far away from a return.

Phoenix at least enjoy good history against the Wanderers.

Last season, they claimed a 3-2 win and a 0-0 draw against the Sydney side, accounting for four of their seven points for the campaign.

"We know that this is a bottom-of-the-table clash right now. It's big for both teams," Lawrence said.

"We have to stick to our process and trust what we're doing.

"Last year was last year. We can right the wrongs and start 2023 - which is an amazing year for football in general, especially women's football in New Zealand - start it strong."


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