Wanderers German recruit edging closer to A-League debut
WESTERN Sydney recruit Patrick Ziegler is back on the brink of full training and has a belated round-five A-League debut in his sights.
The German centre-back was sidelined by untimely surgery after injuring his knee during the FFA Cup six weeks after joining the Wanderers.
But coach Markus Babbel's first signing rejoined the squad for non-contact training on Wednesday and is hoping he'll be ready to play against Newcastle at Spotless Stadium on November 23.
"It's going well. I have a lot of fitness and extra work to do, like in the gym, but I am feeling confident," Ziegler said.
"Next week we will start with full training sessions, and I think round five will be the target."
By Ziegler's own admission, it's a little later than the initial prognosis which had him returning in round three.
He revealed that during his meniscus operation the surgeon found another issue.
"The problem was they saw a second thing in my knee so they cleaned it up," he said.
"It was something that rubs against my knee, against the bone. I had felt it before so I knew I had a problem, but I didn't know this was the problem.
"They said at some point I would need surgery for this second thing, so it's better to do it now. That's why it takes one or two more weeks.
"I could push it, but we don't want to because it's a long season and it's more important to be around later in the season.
"It was bad luck because I was in good shape and we won against Melbourne City in the Cup and during this game it happened. I was very upset about being injured, but it is what it is, I don't want to complain."
Ziegler has been waiting for news on his Australian citizenship application which, if successful, would give the Wanderers an extra foreign spot to play with.
The 28-year-old's father Francis was born and grew up in Adelaide.
"To be honest, I don't know the status," he said.
"A few weeks ago they asked me questions about my father and I answered it, so I don't know if it's close or if it takes two months."
The Wanderers grabbed their first win in Wellington last weekend, in a promising 3-0 performance certain to boost confidence ahead of this Saturday's home match against Brisbane in Mudgee.
"If you win one game and get the confidence and everything is going well," Ziegler said.
"Before the season everyone said Western Sydney Wanderers have problems and stuff like this, we have to show them it's not the case."