With ten matches to go in the Canadian Premier League campaign, the Wanderers are aiming to get a streak going to mount a fall season challenge.
After a break in the schedule allowed the players a chance to recharge their batteries, they’re now fresh and ready for Wednesday night’s away test at Valour FC.
New centre-back Duran Lee will go straight into the squad for the match.
“I’ve been looking for this opportunity for a long time. It’s going to be an adrenaline rush,” said the signing from League1 Ontario club Vaughan. “If we get a good run going we could be right up there, so we’re looking to that and trying to get on a roll.”
Lee will be competing for a starting spot in the Wanderers defence, which is coming off two consecutive clean sheets, including a 1-0 home win over Valour followed by a goalless draw against Cavalry.
Now the focus is on trying to win away from home in the league for the first time, against a club the Wanderers have already beaten in four of five meetings this season.
“I’m not one of those that believes previous games have a reflection on the next game,” said coach Stephen Hart. “All the games against Valour were very very tight, they’re a clean sort of team and move the ball very well and we know that they have quality.”
It’s been quite a wait for Wanderers fans to see their team in action with the team’s last match against Cavalry back on August 10.
But after a hectic travel schedule in July, the break gave the squad a chance to regroup and use the time to get valuable tactical work in on the training pitch, to prepare for the last push.
“We gave the players some time off and then we did a fair amount of fitness work. We also worked with our new defender and a couple of things in midfield, so we tried to address some weaknesses and continued working on things that make us strong,” Hart said.
After spending much of July flying across the country for five away games in a row, the reset has been good for the players.
“It was difficult on a lot of players so we have had time to recover and see our family and friends,” said midfielder Kouamé Ouattara. “We also had time to work harder on tactics and that’s been good for everyone, so we really want to bring home three points.”
Another bonus about the added break in schedule, because of the postponement of a match against Forge, is that new signing Duran Lee has had the chance to settle in to Halifax and the Wanderers style of playing.
Stephen Hart has described his attitude as “fantastic” and Lee is hoping the Valour match will be the start of a special fall season for himself and the Wanderers.
“I’m looking forward to stepping on the field with my new teammates and playing the way I know how to play.”
You can watch the Wanderers match at Valour live on One Soccer.
The game, at IG Field in Winnipeg, kicks off at 9 p.m. AST on Wednesday.