By Lance Jenkinson
Western United centre-back Andrew Durante has formed a strong bond with fellow defenders Ersan Gulum and Connor Chapman in a short space of time.
United has been fairly solid at the back, conceding just three goals in as many A-League games.
While the form and numbers stack up for the trio, Durante is not resting on his laurels with pressure coming from within the squad.
“Myself, Ersan and Connor have got a really good relationship,” he said.
“There’s also good pressure on us from Brendan Hamill and [Aaron] Calver, who are excellent centre-backs as well.
“We know that we need to perform if we want to keep our spot and that’s really good competition.”
Durante has been a smart pick-up by Western United in its inaugural season.
The experienced defender has been a calming influence in the heart of defence for United.
The 37-year-old has also been a dependable distributor out of the back third.
A former New Zealand international and stalwart of Wellington Phoenix, the Sydney-born Durante has enjoyed his first stint in Melbourne with Western United.
“I feel really good and I’m enjoying my time,” he said. “I knew coming here what I was going to expect from working with [coach] Mark [Rudan] before.
“It’s a great group of guys, a fantastic football club and I’m really proud to be a part of it.
“So far I’m loving life here in Melbourne.”
Durante is adamant that Western United is built for sustainable long term success.
“It’s only going to get better,” he said. “The more we can get good results, it’s going to grow.
“It’s a really special football club and they’re doing all the right things on and off the park.
“It’ll take time, but I think we’re doing all the right things.”