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Jan 26, 2013

Wanderers play down growing A-League hype

Western Sydney continue to find new ways to impress but the A-League newcomers are doing their best to play down growing hype over their title hopes.

The Wanderers continued their remarkable rise as they climbed to third spot with a 1-0 victory over Melbourne Heart at Parramatta Stadium on Saturday night.

It was the club's third straight win, and seventh in nine games, but it was the manner of the performance that enhanced their status as genuine championship challengers.

Despite having defender Jerome Polenz sent off after 13 minutes, the Wanderers were dominant and could have won by more as they allowed the Heart nothing in attack.

Sitting 11 points inside the top six with nine games to play, the Wanderers look virtually assured of playing finals football at their first attempt.

And while a maiden championship does not look out of the question, Tony Popovic's side is refusing to get ahead of itself.

"Of course we will try to win the championship, but it's important we just focus on every game and trying to get three points," said Wanderers star Shinji Ono, who netted the winner against the Heart.

With the business end of the regular season approaching, striker Mark Bridge said nothing was assured for the Wanderers yet.

"As good as it is to read that stuff (about being title contenders), anything can happen," Bridge said.

"Once you're in that top six, it can come down to one game. You just need one team to play good on the day and knock you out and all the good work you've done during the season is gone."

But he also believes anything is possible.

"We're confident we'll be there at the end and we always said we were going to be competitive," Bridge said.

"Just how competitive depends on us.

"We're doing well but we can't rest on our laurels. We have to keep going with it and finish as high up as possible.

The Wanderers sit equal on 32 points with Adelaide, with the sides facing off at Hindmarsh Stadium next Sunday.

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