Santalab injury hands Baccus his big break

Western Sydney have signed one-time Serie A target Kearyn Baccus as an injury replacement for Wanderers striker Brendon Santalab.

Santalab, who undergoes surgery on Friday, injured his right shoulder in the first leg of the Wanderers historic AFC Champions League triumph and will be ruled out for an indefinite period.

The injury has opened the door for local product Baccus who has been honing his craft in the state league.

Baccus, a football prodigy and former youth international, has experience in Europe with spells at Le Mans in France as well as Real Mallorca and Real Sociedad in Spain.

It was while with La Mans that Baccus was called into the Socceroos camp in 2011.

The promising midfielder, tagged the next big thing, was snapped up by Perth Glory in 2012/13 on a short-term deal pending a move to Italian giants, AC Siena.

But after a disappointing spell in Perth, where he arrived injured then struggled for game time, he moved home to Sydney with the hope of catching the eye of local clubs.

Wanderers snapped up the 22-year-old from Blacktown City where he won the recently-completed National Premier League alongside fellow Wanderer Shayne D’Cunha.

Having grown up in Kingspark the former Sydney FC youth team player feels proud to have signed for his hometown club and newly-crowned Asian champions.

“As a Western Sydney boy it’s absolutely massive to sign for the Wanderers,” Baccus said.

“I’m very grateful to Tony Popovic who has given me another opportunity. Now I have to grasp it with two hands and do the best I can for him and the club.”

“It’s going to be quality to play in front of the Red and Black fans; they’re intense and the best in the A-League”