The A-League’s sleeping giant is on the verge of a big awakening.

Many have excused the Western Sydney Wanderers for a mediocre few seasons following the departure of inaugural manager Tony Popovic and their temporary re-location.

While the club is yet to return home – Markus Babbel’s team has foreshadowed a return to the top after an impressive string of results as this season comes to a close.

The club’s activity during the January transfer window appears to be the catalyst with Mitchell Duke being a key indicator of this.

Duke, 28, has scored four goals in seven games and the club has since tripled its number of wins since his debut.

The former Mariners striker has partnered up nicely with Oriol Riera – who has scored 32 goals in 53 appearances – and with a full pre-season together, the pair could become the league’s most dangerous duo next season.

Though at this stage there is no certainty the duo will remain at the club with Duke only signing an 18-month contract with the club back in January.

A long-awaited return to Parramatta – now Bankwest Stadium – will give the club a much-needed lift and will nonetheless buoy the fans who have been deprived of the famous Wanderers atmosphere since moving to Spotless.

Image: Parramatta Eels

Despite sitting on six wins finals is still a possibility for the Wanderers but a lot will need to go their way for this to happen with the club sitting ten points outside the top-six.

Based on their current form – and what lies ahead – an assault on the next year’s competition seems more likely in what will be Babbel’s second season at the club.

With all the ingredients to climb back up the table next season – the Wanderers could be the team to look out for in 2019/20.

Athos Sirianos