Wolves coach Luke Wilkshire believes the Illawarra is perfectly poised to field an A-Leagues team, with the club given renewed hope of expansion as soon as next year.
The Australian Professional Leagues will conduct a "strategic review" into expansion over the next six months, with the potential for a 14th team to join the national competition in 2022.
A 16-team league has been viewed by many pundits as the ideal structure, allowing teams to face each other twice in a 30-round season.
"The APL has stated that it's our objective to get to a full home and away season, with either 14 or 16 teams, depending on the outcome of the strategic plan," APL managing director Danny Townsend told News.com.au.
"There will be a strategic review on our process of expansion conducted over the next six months with a view to actioning that strategy once it's complete. We need to do work on what the process should be, not what is the process itself, because we don't know that yet."
It's understood that a second New Zealand team or a Canberra side are among those being considered, while other places of interest include Tasmania.
However, Wilkshire believes Wollongong should be viewed as a strong candidate. The Wolves were part of the last A-League expansion race process, but were eventually ruled out in October 2018 as Federation Football Australia opted for Macarthur FC and Western United instead.
"They've outlined that they're looking at regions for the purpose of football for the right reasons, not like a bidding contest that they had before. And if you look at what we're doing, there's always that opportunity to show why we should be in the top league," Wilkshire said.
"The club has a rich history of being in the top flight, like in our NSL (National Soccer League) days. There's a structure in place here and you look at the number of participants we have. It's a region that can create new derbies that doesn't impact any other current A-League side. There's a lot of positive positive factors and we've got everything here ready to go.
"The region has a rich reputation of producing players of not only playing in the top level in Australia, but in Europe and for the national team. And we want to continue to produce those players and to have that pathway."
Read more: Phoenix get prepared for Wollongong return
Wollongong will have plenty of opportunities to impress in the coming months, starting on Saturday when the Phoenix face Central Coast in an A-League Men's clash at WIN Stadium. The Mariners will then return to the venue next Wednesday to meet the Wolves in a FFA Cup round of 16 battle.
Wellington's A-League's Women's side will then play their first game in Wollongong on December 3, with both of the club's sides playing home games at WIN Stadium until at least January.
Wilkshire said he would be keen for the Wolves to one day feature in both of Australia's top competitions
"It would have to be both, and that's something that we've spoken about as a club. It's the A-Leagues, not A-League, so it's for both men and women," he said.
"Like I've said before, we've got the infrastructure here, we've got the stadium, we've got everything going down here, so there's no reason why we shouldn't aim to be back in the top flight. I'm well aware that they want to expand and get up to 14 and 16 teams as soon as possible, so we want to be part of that."
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