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Bulut upbeat A-League goals will come

AAP logoAAP 28/10/2016 Matt Encarnacion

The tattooed star sitting under Kerem Bulut's left eye represents a confidence not uncommon from strikers who aren't gun-shy of where they sit on the totem pole.

"I think I'm a star, so I put that on there," the Western Sydney Wanderers cult hero told AAP.

But it's the crown inked over it that's more indicative of the assuredness oozing out of this Auburn product, back with the Wanderers this A-League season.

"That means I'm the king of the stars. It's a little one for me," he said ahead of the clash with Central Coast on Saturday.

Spend 10 minutes with Bulut and you immediately get a sense of why his chequered history could dent his motivation for a strong summer.

Two brushes with the law, coupled with two failed stints overseas, would be enough to break even the most aspiring soccer player in the country.

But not this Wanderers frontman.

"Not many people can have the setbacks I've had, the struggles that I've been through, and come through the other side," he says.

Bulut isn't afraid to talk about his past.

In 2010 he was charged for a handful of offences, including intent to cause grievous bodily harm and assisting in criminal activity.

In a previous stint with the Western Sydney before moving to Greece last year, he was charged with intimidation at a McDonalds outlet.

"People try to dirty my name, but the thing is I've been cleared of every involvement, even the McDonalds thing," he says.

"If you check me, I'm clean. I've never been found guilty of anything, so how can people say I'm a criminal? They're narrow-minded, uneducated people that talk."

The bad-boy reputation has followed him ever since, and one that almost broke his relationship with Wanderers coach Tony Popovic.

The club's foundation manager has a close bond with Bulut, but could only offer him a trial when Bulut wanted out of Greek club Iraklis earlier this year.

"I had to trial because of my ups and downs," Bulut says.

"I made a lot of mistakes. I accept that. But I copped it on the chin. I learned from them. Everybody makes mistakes."

Three games in and it's been slow going for the former Sydney FC youth player.

He has yet to score a goal, rapidly diminishing his popularity with the rabid supporter base that want the local boy to succeed again.

He became an instant favourite after scoring five goals in nine games in 2014-15.

He was so confident of success this season that he boldly predicted scoring at least 15 goals throughout their entire campaign, including the Asian Champions League.

"Alright, three games I haven't been scoring. But there's still a lot of games to go. We have ACL and I believe in myself, I back myself all the way," he says.

"I think I can do it. I've got the potential. The rewards are going to come. I'm just staying patient."

STATS THAT MATTER

* Central Coast have conceded four goals in six of their last seven games on the road, conceding three goals in the other game in that run.

* Kerem Bulut (Western Sydney Wanderers) has been caught offside more often than any other player this campaign in the A-League (6).

* Michael Neill (Central Coast Mariners) has recorded more touches than any other player this season in the A-League (310).

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