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Scott thrives on WSW baptism of fire

NZN 13/12/2016 Emma Kemp

Lachlan Scott knew he was a Wanderer when he was told to drop 5kg.

The 19-year-old Western Sydney youth team striker was hovering at 80kg in May when coach Tony Popovic handed him his first senior A-League contract.

At that point, he knew he'd never avoid the club's infamously gruelling initiation that leaves its subjects hurting and hungry but enviably nimble.

"I'm 77kg now but he wants me to get down to 75kg so I've still got two more kilos to go," Scott told AAP.

"If it helps you on the field, it's just something you have to sacrifice."

If that was a baptism of fire, Scott hardly expected to get so much game time so early into his first season.

Kerem Bulut's mysterious absence opened the door for the Wollongong-born teen to play four out of 10 matches so far, including a start in this month's 4-1 drubbing of Central Coast.

As with any youngster thrown into the mix, there have been learning experiences.

But just like in training, when he loses the ball and tries to win it back straight away, Scott runs on the notion that Popovic takes most notice of what his players do after they've made a mistake.

His pre-season FFA Cup brace against Wellington ensured his first club goals were out of the way and "out of my head" once the A-League started.

He draws confidence from having come close again last month, when his diving injury-time header deflected off Melbourne City's Neil Kilkenny for an own-goal that rescued a point for the Wanderers.

Guidance from a fellow striker 15 years his senior has also been valuable.

"When I've travelled, I've stayed with Santa (Brendon Santalab) in the rooms and he's been really good," Scott said.

"He tells me a bit about the defenders and to relax and play my normal game. That makes me feel a lot more comfortable."

Having signed a contract extension last month through until 2019, Scott's long-term goal is development and, eventually, regular starts peppered with as many goals as he had scored during his prolific youth team career.

In the short term, it's pushing for inclusion in the travelling squad to face the Phoenix on Saturday, as the sixth-placed Wanderers attempt to rebound from last weekend's 3-0 loss to Melbourne Victory.

He knows that's partly dependent on whether Bulut returns to the fray - and later, if Popovic recruits a striker in the January transfer window - but says not playing won't impact on his drive.

"If Kerem was to come back in and I was to go out, nothing would change," Scott said.

"I'd still be training 100 per cent because I know, if I have a good week training, I'll be back in - that's the way it is with Popa."

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