The true depth of Western Sydney’s much-vaunted academy could be set for a huge test on Wednesday, with the absence of Olyroo Keanu Baccus and a suspension for Pirmin Schwegler leaving coach Markus Babbel with little choice but to turn to youth.
The Wanderers will begin 2020 with a home clash against Brisbane Roar at Bankwest Stadium on New Year’s Day, but Babbel will be without the two most significant players in his team’s midfield structure.
Baccus departed for Thailand on Monday with Graham Arnold’s Australian under-23s, who have an Olympic qualifying tournament this month, while Schwegler has accrued five yellow cards and is banned for one match.
Babbel was keeping his cards close to his chest but it appears his only option is to play the kids. Defender Patrick Ziegler is capable of moving into midfield, and could be replaced at the back by Dylan McGowan, but it’s slim pickings otherwise.