Match Preview: Popa and co ready to meet challenge from ‘dangerous’ Jets


Head Coach Tony Popovic is backing his charges to continue their improvement in Saturday’s home clash with Newcastle Jets (kick-off at 4.30pm, tickets HERE).


The men in purple head into the HBF Park showdown off the back of consecutive clean-sheet victories over Melbourne City and Western Sydney Wanderers.

Those results have lifted Glory into fifth spot on the Hyundai A-League ladder and Popovic feels that his side are well capable of maintaining that positive trajectory. 

“The key is that we play well, keep improving our game and whatever hurdles come up in a match, we can overcome,” he said.

“We have a lot of confidence in the squad and they’re getting better and better as they go along.

“I feel the players are becoming more confident in where they’re at physically and their understanding of their roles and with that comes better understanding of each other.

“I’m sure it will keep improving – we’re not the finished article, we still have a lot of work to do, but we feel we are on the right track.”

The Jets, meanwhile, were left licking their wounds after a 4-0 home defeat at the hands of Melbourne City last weekend and Popovic is wary of a potential backlash to that result from Ernie Merrick’s side.

“We certainly expect a reaction from Newcastle,” he said.

“They’re a very dangerous team and I’m sure everyone that has played against them thus far would agree with that.

“We experienced it as well when we played away at Newcastle.

“We felt we had a really good match against them, but you always feel that they’re dangerous and that going forward, they’re always a threat.

“I don’t think that’ll change this week and I’m sure they’ll be very determined to put last week’s result right and we have to be prepared for a team that will show a lot of desperation in this match.”

The Head Coach went on to shed some light upon the progress being made by sidelined defensive duo Dino Djulbic (ankle) and Osama Malik (hamstring).

“Dino’s injury is not one that we see him coming back from in the next week or two,” he said.

“He’s still got to do some tests and see a couple of specialists to see if it’s going to be short or long-term.

“Hopefully by the end of this week or early next week, we’ll have a clearer picture.

“Osama is close to rejoining the group now. He’s working well and he’s working hard.

“He’s over the worst of his injury and now it’s about getting his conditioning in and getting back with the group and feeling confident with his training and performance.

“We’re happy with his progress.”

Match Details

Saturday, 21 December 2019

Perth Glory v Newcastle Jets

HBF Park, Perth

Kick-Off: 4:30pm (Local) (7:30pm (AEDT))

Referee: Adam Kersey

Assistant Referee 1: Josh Mannella

Assistant Referee 2: Matthew Southern

Fourth Official: Shane Skinner

VAR: Kate Jacewicz

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

Perth Glory squad: 1.Tando VELAPHI (gk), 2.Alex GRANT, 3.Jacob TRATT, 4.Gregory WUTHRICH, 5.Ivan FRANJIC, 7.Joel CHIANESE, 8.James MEREDITH, 9.Bruno FORNAROLI, 12.Kim SOO-BEOM, 14.Chris HAROLD, 16.Tomislav MRCELA, 17.Diego CASTRO (c), 18.Nicholas D’AGOSTINO, 19.Chris IKONOMIDIS, 20.Jake BRIMMER, 27.JUANDE, 28.Gabriel POPOVIC, 33.Liam REDDY (gk), 88.Neil KILKENNY

**2-3 to be omitted**

Ins: 14.Chris HAROLD (promoted)

Outs: None

Unavailable: 6.Dino DJULBIC (ankle – indefinite), 13.Osama MALIK (hamstring – 1 week), 29.Kristian POPOVIC (thigh – 1-2 weeks)

Newcastle Jets squad: 1.Glen MOSS (gk), 2.Bobby BURNS, 3.Jason HOFFMAN, 5.Ben KANTAROVSKI, 6.Steven UGARKOVIC, 10.Dimi PETRATOS, 11.Nick FITZGERALD, 14.Kaine SHEPPARD, 16.Matt MILLAR, 18.Johnny KOUTROUMBIS, 19.Kosta PETRATOS, 20.Lewis ITALIANO (gk), 22.Lachlan JACKSON, 23.Matt RIDENTON, 25.Jack SIMMONS, 28.Pat LANGLOIS, 32.Angus THURGATE, 44.Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY

**1-2 to be omitted**

Ins: 25.Jack SIMMONS (promoted)

Outs: 4.Nigel BOOGAARD (groin – 2-4 weeks)

Unavailable: 4.Nigel BOOGAARD (groin – 2-4 weeks), 8.Wes HOOLAHAN (ankle – indefinite), 9.Abdiel ARROYO (hamstring)