Sydney divide close to home for Wanderer

Western Sydney Wanderers' Thomas Aquilina cannot wait to play in his first derby against Sydney FC.
Western Sydney Wanderers' Thomas Aquilina cannot wait to play in his first derby against Sydney FC.

Red and black runs through his veins so Western Sydney youngster Thomas Aquilina is happy to take A-League derby glory even if it comes with a frosty reception from the Sydney FC-supporting father of his girlfriend.

The 19-year-old fullback has gone from academy graduate to A-League starting player in a month and will get his first taste of a Sydney derby when the Wanderers face their crosstown rivals on Saturday.

After debuting off the bench in the Wanderers' season-opener against Macarthur, Aquilina was promoted to a starting role against Newcastle last week and put in an impressive shift as the Wanderers claimed a 2-1 win over the Jets.

Born in Camden, in Sydney's west, Aquilina cannot wait to take on the Sky Blues even if it means creating some tension on the homefront.

"I've got it tough because my missus' dad is a big Sydney FC fan so that's a big rivalry in the household," Aquilina told AAP.

"That's kind of my motivation, to get on top of him.

"The derby is not just a game, it's a rivalry at the same time on so many different levels for us, for the team and, I guess, for him as well. Like it's a little rivalry between us too."

Aquilina says the arrival of new coach Carl Robinson has been a big part in his elevation to the senior ranks.

The Welshman joined the Wanderers from the Jets in October, with Aquilina signing a two-year scholarship deal at the end of November.

And while Aquilina has been the immediate beneficiary of Robinson's arrival, he expects more Wanderers youngsters to get their chance during the campaign.

"While Carl's been in here it's been kind of a whole different ball game, he really invests in young players," he said.

"He wants to give them chances ... but the biggest thing he's said is, he will give us the opportunity but we've got to take them. No-one else can take them.

"I'm the first person to make my debut out of the group, out of the young boys, so far but I don't think I'm going to be the last this season."

Australian Associated Press