WESTERN SYDNEY Wanderers defender Tarek Elrich says this summer’s friendly against Leeds United will provide the Australians with an experience they will never forget.
The A-league side will take on Leeds at the newly-built Bankwest Stadium on Saturday, July 20 in what will be United’s penultimate pre-season friendly and second of two on their Australian tour.
The Whites will also face Manchester United at Optus Stadium in Perth on Wednesday, July 17 with Wanderers defender Elrich already relishing his side’s clash against Leeds three days after the Red Devils match.
The friendly between Leeds and Western Sydney will be the first football match played at the new stadium and the first Australian-safe standing area has also been installed and tested with just one month to go until the match.
When fully deployed, 1260 seats will be removed from the stadium’s northern end and replaced with rails to accommodate 1260 standing spaces.
“Leeds have a very rich culture and they’re a massive club so to have them come out here and play against us in the new Stadium next month is something we’ll never forget,” said Elrich.
“This is a new beginning for the club. The fans, the players the coaches all expect results here and hopefully we can fill the Stadium.
“When the fans are out here supporting us we feel that on the pitch and we’d love to see this new active support area packed with the Red and Black.”
Bankwest Stadium in Parramatta, New South Wales has a capacity of 30,000 with the new stadium opened in April, replacing the demolished Parramatta Stadium.
The $300 million Bankwest Stadium is being used for rugby league, rugby union and football plus concerts and special events and the ground was used for a sporting event for the first time when Parramatta Eels took on the Wests Tigers in an NRL game in April. Wanderers’ clash against Leeds will be the first time safe standing will be implemented in Australia.
“This safe standing represents a landmark moment for Australian football,” said Wanderers CEO John Tsatsimas.
“It’s something we’ve lobbied for long and hard and now it’s come to fruition. It’s the first time an Australian football team has been able to have a safestanding area, and we’re glad to be leading the charge in terms of active support.
“It’s going to be a monumental day for the Western Sydney Wanderers.”