Socceroos pair loom for West Sydney

May 31, 2012
By Liam Howitt

Socceroos Scott Chipperfield and Mark Bridge have emerged as potential marquee signings for new A-League club West Sydney after both made significant moves.

Bridge on Friday asked for a release from the final year of his three-season deal with Sydney FC, while Chipperfield will go from beating Manchester United with Swiss club Basel to taking on the likes of Dapto Dandaloo and Wollongong United.

Chipperfield will return to where it all began after committing to a short-term deal with Wollongong club Tarrawana in the Illawarra Premier League.

He's indicated his desire to secure an A-League deal as he winds down his impressive career, but is unlikely to find a home at Sydney FC who have recently signed former Melbourne left-back Fabio.

New West Sydney coach Tony Popovic has connections with both players, which could be a decisive factor in any future contract negotiations.

Bridge, who was granted a release by Sydney FC, is familiar with Sydney's west, having played for Parramatta in the old NSL and, at 26, has proved he has the maturity to lead any attack.

He cited a desire for a new challenge as reasons for wanting to leave the Sky Blues, and being involved with a new club from the ground up could appeal to the talented striker should he choose to pursue his career in Australia rather than overseas.

Chipperfield has had a successful decade overseas and he's come a long way from his days of driving a bus in Wollongong to supplement his then meagre football income.

Basel knocked out Manchester United in this year's European Champions League before losing in the round of 16 to eventual runners-up Bayern Munich.

When he returns to Australia, he will trade Old Trafford for the more humble suburban grounds of the south coast.

Tarrawanna secretary Phillip Porter was delighted to have Chipperfield back at his junior club.

"Scott has been very involved with our club, he was our shirt sponsor a few seasons ago. It will be good for our fans to see him play," Porter said.

"He has indicated that he wants to play the whole season, and we're confident that he will be available for a minimum five games even if he secures an A-league contract."