Match Preview: ‘Our intensity and focus have lifted’ – Popa


Tony Popovic believes that his players are even more highly motivated after claiming the Premiers’ Plate.


Glory head into Sunday’s home game against Wellington Phoenix (kick off at 5pm) with the club’s first piece of Hyundai A-League silverware already safely in the trophy cabinet.

But according  to the Head Coach, that triumph has only made his charges hungry for more.

“The best indicator for us is the way they [the players] have performed day in, day out, at training,” he said, “and from what we’ve seen since the fantastic result of winning the Premiers’ Plate, we sense the intensity and focus have lifted.

“They know there are some big games coming up and Sunday is one of them. They all want to be a part of it and be as best prepared as they can be to make a difference.

“The most important aspect for us is the performance and that will give us momentum.

“We’ve shown that whenever we’ve done that, we’ve usually come out on top and this is another opportunity to do that.”

Popovic went on to acknowledge that finals-bound Phoenix will provide a stern challenge at HBF Park and salute the work done at the New Zealand club by his former Sydney United and Sydney FC teammate, Mark Rudan.

“We look forward to the game and we respect the opponents who have had a fantastic season,” he said.

“Mark [Rudan] has done a wonderful job there. I’m regularly in touch with Mark and am very pleased for him to see what he’s achieving.

“I’ve seen him go through the stages as a coach, wanting to be the best and get an opportunity in the A-League. He coached in the NPL and regularly went over to Europe studying his trade and trying to improve.

“He got an opportunity and he’s done a great job and I’m delighted for him

 “They [Wellington] can score goals and are good to watch as a neutral, so it will be two teams who have had good seasons going up against each other in an important match for both teams for different reasons.

“We know it’s going to be tough, but it’s a game that we’re looking forward to in front of our home fans. 

“We haven’t taken any game lightly this year. Yes we rested players for the Sydney FC game last Thursday, but we went there expecting a performance and we did get a very good performance from players that haven’t played many minutes at all.”

Glory’s only confirmed absentee for Sunday is Alex Grant who is continuing his recovery from a virus, while the likes of Jason Davidson, Chris Ikonomidis, Andy Keogh and Dino Djulbic all return to the selection mix.

There will be an opportunity for members and fans to take to the HBF Park turf following the final whistle for ‘Kick on the Pitch’ – book your tickets for the game HERE.

Match Details

Sunday, 28 April 2019

Perth Glory FC v Wellington Phoenix FC

HBF Park, Perth

Kick-Off: 5:00PM (Local) (7:00PM (AEST))

Referee: Stephen Lucas

Assistant Referee 1: Josh Mannella

Assistant Referee 2: Matthew Southern

Fourth Official: Adam Fielding

VAR: Chris Beath

Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash tag #PERvWEL

Perth Glory squad: 1.Tando VELAPHI (gk), 3.Jason DAVIDSON, 4.Shane LOWRY, 5.Ivan FRANJIC, 6.Dino DJULBIC, 7.Joel CHIANESE, 9.Andy KEOGH, 11.Brendon SANTALAB, 13.Matthew SPIRANOVIC, 16.Tomislav MRCELA, 17.Diego CASTRO, 19.Chris IKONOMIDIS, 20.Jake BRIMMER, 22.Fabio FERREIRA, 23.Scott NEVILLE, 27.JUANDE, 33.Liam REDDY (gk), 88.Neil KILKENNY

**two to be omitted**

Ins:, 3.Jason DAVIDSON (returns from injury), 6.Dino DJULBIC (promoted), 9.Andy KEOGH (promoted), 13.Matthew SPIRANOVIC (promoted), 19.Chris IKONOMIDIS (returns from injury), 27.JUANDE (returns from injury)

Outs: 14.Chris HAROLD, (omitted), 15.Brandon WILSON (omitted), 21.Jacob ITALIANO, (omitted), 29.Kristian POPOVIC (omitted)
Unavailable: 2.Alex GRANT (illness – 2 weeks)

Wellington Phoenix Squad: 1.Filip KURTO (gk), 4.Mandi SOSA, 5.Ryan LOWRY, 7.Cillian SHERIDAN, 11.David WILLIAMS, 12.Antony GOLEC, 13.Liberato CACACE, 14.Alex RUFER, 15.Michal KOPZCYNSKI, 17.Callan ELLIOT, 18.Sarpreet SINGH, 20.Oliver SAIL (gk), 21. Roy KRISHNA, 22.Andrew DURANTE (c), 23.Max BURGESS, 27.Steven TAYLOR, 31. Ben WAINE, 32. Gianni STENSNESS

**two to be omitted**

Ins: 5. Ryan LOWRY (promoted), 31. Ben WAINE (promoted) 32. Gianni STENSENESS (promoted)

Outs: 3. Justin GULLEY (not selected)

Unavailable: 16. Louis FENTON (foot injury – season)


Picture courtesy of Frozen In Motion Photography