ALM Match Preview: Staj braced for Wanderers backlash in another six-pointer

Glory Head Coach Alen Stajcic is expecting a backlash from a wounded Western Sydney Wanderers at HBF Park on Saturday (kick-off at 4:45pm, tickets available HERE).

View his full pre-match media conference HERE.

The red-and-blacks suffered a 7-0 drubbing at the hands of Melbourne City on Tuesday evening, a third consecutive defeat which saw them slip out of the top six.

But Stajcic believes that Marko Rudan’s charges will be determined to make amends in what is a vital Round 21 clash for both sides in terms of their Finals ambitions.

“Every game has been [a six-pointer] over the last few weeks and will be until the end of the year; there’s no doubt about that,” he said.

“We’ve got to play Melbourne City as well, who are in that Finals race, along with a couple of others , so we can’t look too far ahead.

“It’s a big game, no doubt.

“They’ll be hurting having been through a bit of pain over the last week or so and I’m always wary of teams on the rebound, looking to prove themselves and play to restore a little bit of pride.

“We know that their playing group has got that in them.

“A team that’s been hurt like that, they’re always willing to restore their pride and come back and fight even harder.

“I wish it had only been a 1-0 [defeat against Melbourne City].

“Our league is so tight that anything can happen game to game.”

Despite their recent poor run of form, Glory’s Head Coach is under no illusions as to the calibre of the visitors’ squad.

“They’re a good team going forward and have some young players who have really improved over the last 12, 18 months like [Nicolas] Milanovic and Lachie Brook in particular,” he said.

“They’ve been exceptional.

“They’ve got some quality midfielders; [Jorrit] Hendrix has come in and provided a real platform for them at the back and obviously Marcelo is in the conversation as the best centre-back in the league.

“There’s no doubt that they’re one of the best teams in the league.”

In terms of squad news, meanwhile, Stajcic confirmed that Mark Beevers could be in line to return from his knee injury, but that fellow-defender Aleks Susnjar (groin) will miss out.

Jarrod Carluccio is also set to be unavailable as the terms of his loan agreement from Western Sydney Wanderers prevent him from playing against his parent club.

The visitors, who are poised to welcome key defender Marcelo back from suspension, will be out to avenge their home defeat to Glory in Round 13.

History suggests they may struggle to do so, however, as they have claimed maximum points on only two of their previous 16 A-League visits to WA.

In addition to Brook and Milanovic who have contributed 14 goals and five assists between them, other WSW players to have impressed this season include former Glory man Jack Clisby who has made 20 starts and attacking midfielder Dylan Pierias who has scored four times in his 12 previous appearances against Glory.

Match Details

Isuzu UTE A-League 2023/24 Season Round 21

Perth Glory v Western Sydney Wanderers

HBF Park

Saturday 16 March 2024

Kick-off: 4:45pm

Perth Glory squad: 1.Oli SAIL (gk), 2.Johnny KOUTROUMBIS, 3.Jacob MUIR, 4.Luke BODNAR, 5.Mark BEEVERS (co-c), 7.Stefan COLAKOVSKI, 8.Mustafa AMINI, 9.David WILLIAMS, 13.Cameron COOK (gk), 14.Riley WARLAND, 16.Josh RAWLINS, 19.Trent OSTLER, 20.Giordano COLLI, 22.Adam TAGGART (co-c), 23.Daniel BENNIE, 27.Jayden GORMAN, 28.Kaelan MAJEKODUNMI, 29.Darryl LACHMAN, 31.Joel ANASMO, 41.Aiki TSUKAMOTO

Two to be omitted

Ins: 3.Jacob MUIR, 4.Luke BODNAR, 5.Mark BEEVERS (co-c), 27.Jayden GORMAN

Outs: 15.Aleksandar SUSNJAR, 17.Jarrod CARLUCCIO

Unavailable: 11.Adam ZIMARINO (injured), 15.Aleksandar SUSNJAR (injured), 17.Jarrod CARLUCCIO (ineligible due to terms of loan agreement), 21.Antonis MARTIS (injured), 77.Bruce KAMAU (injured)

Western Sydney Wanderers squad: 1.Daniel MARGUSH (GK), 2.Gabriel CLEUR, 5.Sonny KITTEL, 6. MARCELO, 7.Dylan PIEIRAS, 10. Milos NINKOVIC, 14.Nicolas MILANOVIC, 16.Tom BEADLING, 17.Lachlan BROOK, 19.Jack CLISBY, 20.Lawrence THOMAS (GK), 21.Jorrit HENDRIX, 25.Joshua BRILLANTE, 26.Brandon BORRELLO, 29.Dyan SCICLUNA, 31.Aidan SIMMONS, 32.Nathaneal BLAIR, 33.Alex BONETIG, 44.Nathan BARRIE

Ins: 6. MARCELO (returns from suspension)

Outs: Nil