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WSW must make Spotless a fortress: Nichols

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 21/10/2016 Emma Kemp

Western Sydney's new vice-captain Mitch Nichols admits it will feel peculiar walking out of the tunnel at Spotless Stadium.

The Wanderers' temporary home ground, where last season's grand finalists will play eight games this A-League this campaign, will be put to use for the first time on Sunday night when they host Newcastle.

Even in new surroundings, an electric atmosphere is something Tony Popovic's men can count on.

With Spotless' 24,000 capacity making it only slightly larger than the under-construction Pirtek Stadium, the famously vocal red-and-black faithful are sure to fill the stands.

But on the field where it counts most, Nichols challenged his team to ensure that when they walk back down that tunnel after the match, the oval-shaped AFL venue truly belongs to them.

"It's very different and we have to get used to it," Nichols said.

"But it's about us turning into a fortress like at Pirtek, where people didn't like going there.

"We didn't do that at ANZ Stadium in the first home game (against Sydney FC) so we've got to go out there and send our fans home happy.

"So we need to take our game in front of our crowd, perform and get the three points."

Achieving that will be partly down to how well the Wanderers' at-times shaky defence contains a rampant Jets attack that put four unanswered goals past powerhouse Brisbane last weekend.

Sparky winger Andrew Nabbout has a new lease of life under coach Mark Jones and has excellent front-third partners in Andrew Hoole, Steven Ugarkovic, Wayne Brown and Morten Nordstrand.

The Wanderers are also confident after admirably rebounding from their opening 4-0 Sydney derby thrashing, setting things right over defending champions Adelaide thanks to a second-half double from super-sub Brendon Santalab.

"It's about us continuing from the Reds. That second half was really positive away from home," Nichols said.

"Newcastle has started well. We know what they do and their front line with Nabbout and Hooley is dangerous.

"We need to play to our strengths. If we keep the ball and move it around we won't give them a chance to attack."

Sunday will also provide a new experience for midfielder Dimas, who after serving as temporary captain for two games will wear the armband permanently following the exit of Nikolai Topor-Stanely.

The experienced Spaniard, who joined in 2015, hoped to take the club to big places in its fifth season and backed the beautiful game's universal language to overcome any verbal barriers with teammates.

"In the field, the football language for everything is the same," Dimas said.

"In the field I don't have problems and my teammates help me a lot.

"This is a fantastic club that deserves to win a grand final, hopefully this year."

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