Match Preview – Popa excited by Wellington challenge


Tony Popovic is relishing the prospect of seeing his Glory side go head-to-head with fellow-top-four contenders Wellington Phoenix on Wednesday evening (kick-off at 5.30pm WST).


A win for the men in purple at Bankwest Stadium would see them replace their opponents in third spot as the season run-in really starts to heat up.

Phoenix were beaten by Sydney FC in their first game since the resumption of the campaign, while Glory downed the Mariners in their opening fixture and Popovic feels that spirits in the camp are high off the back of that result.

“Wellington have had a very good season thus far,” he said.

“[Head Coach] Ufuk Talay has done a very good job with the team which has continued on from last season with Mark Rudan.

“I thought the other night against Sydney they played well.

“They’ve kept all their players, they have a full complement.

“We know they’ll be dangerous, they play a good brand of football, but also it’s an exciting challenge for us to be playing against a team that’s playing well.

“We obviously have some confidence from winning the other night ourselves, so we look forward to the challenge.”

Popovic went on to confirm that the squad emerged from the game in Gosford free of any fresh injuries and that the competition for starting places remains fierce.

“Today will be our first hit-out [in terms of full training],” he said.

“We’ve just done some recovery for the last couple of days with the short turnaround.

“After not playing for four months, there are some sore bodies out there in training, but everyone is fit and healthy and we’re expecting everyone to train today.

“The players who played on Saturday are ready to go again if selected and the rest of the players all want to play.

“It’s what you want as a coach and we’ll assess them very closely this afternoon and make a decision from there.”

In terms of Glory’s hub experience so far, meanwhile, the Head Coach was similarly positive.

“So far, so good,” he said.

“We’re happy here in the hotel where they’ve looked after us very well and made us feel welcome.

“They’re trying to make us feel as at home as possible which isn’t easy to do living in a hotel.

“The players are playing their part in terms of accepting what we’re here for and why we’re here.

“It’s still the early stages and there’s a long way to go, but as a staff, we’re delighted with the way the players have approached it and the environment that we’re in here at the hotel.”

Match Details

Wednesday, 22 July 2020

Perth Glory v Wellington Phoenix

Bankwest Stadium, Parramatta

Kick-Off: 5:30PM (WST) (7:30PM (AEST))

Referee: Alex King

Assistant Referee 1: Andrej Giev

Assistant Referee 2: James Cleal

Fourth Official: Alireza Faghani

TV Broadcast: Live coverage on FOX SPORTS 507 from 5:30pm (WST) and Sky Sport 7 (New Zealand), Kayo Sports (www.kayosports.com.au) and MyFootball Live App, Live Fast and Data Free for Telstra mobile customers

Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tag #PERvWEL

Perth Glory squad: 2.Alex GRANT, 3.Jacob TRATT, 5.Ivan FRANJIC, 7.Joel CHIANESE, 8.James MEREDITH, 9.Bruno FORNAROLI, 13.Osama MALIK, 16.Tomislav MRCELA, 18.Nick D’AGOSTINO, 20.Jake BRIMMER, 21.Tarek ELRICH, 22.Vince LIA, 23.Dane INGHAM, 25.Carlo ARMIENTO, 27.JUANDE, 28.Gabriel POPOVIC, 29.Kristian POPOVIC, 33.Liam REDDY (GK), 50.Daniel MARGUSH (GK), 88.Neil KILKENNY (c)

Ins: 16.Tomislav MRCELA (promoted), 21.Tarek ELRICH (promoted)

Outs: Nil

Unavailable: Nil

Wellington Phoenix squad: 1.Stefan MARINOVIC (gk), 2.Liam McGING, 3.Luke DEVERE, 4.Te Atawhai HUDSON-WIHONGI, 5.Matti STEINMANN, 7.Reno PISCOPO, 8.Cameron DEVLIN, 9. David BALL, 10.Ulises DAVILA, 11.Jaushua SOTIRIO, 12. Brandan Wilson, 13.Liberato CACACE, 14.Alex RUFER, 16.Louis FENTON, 17.Callan ELLIOT, 21.Callum McCOWATT, 27.Steven TAYLOR (c), 30.Zac JONES (gk), 31.Ben WAINE, 88. Gary HOOPER

**2-4 to be omitted**

Ins: 4.Te Atawhai HUDSON-WIHONGI (promoted), 8.Cameron DEVLIN (return from suspension)

Outs: Nil

Unavailable: 6.Tim PAYNE (Suspended – 4 matches), 20.Oliver SAIL (gk) (Suspended – 4 matches)