Match Preview: ‘We enjoy the challenges and the expectation’ – Popa


Tony Popovic has insisted that his players are embracing the extra expectation that has been placed on their shoulders this season.


Glory will make the long trip to Wellington on Sunday looking to secure a first win of the new campaign following consecutive 1-1 draws against Brisbane Roar and Western United.

And the Head Coach is keenly aware that his charges face additional pressure to pick up three points in the wake of last term’s Premiers’ Plate triumph.

“It’s a great challenge [going to Wellington] and we enjoy the challenges and the expectation,” he said.

“Now, our players and fans are disappointed when we get a point away in Melbourne and that shows how far we’ve come. 

“We want to continue our hard work, hopefully the performances will increase in minutes and then, ultimately, I believe that the results will follow.”

Popovic also acknowledged the threat Wellington will pose as they too search for their first win of the season.

“We have respect for Wellington,” he said.

“They’ve played well in the first couple of games and will also be desperate to get their first win.

“So it’ll be a tough encounter and there are no easy games in the A-League.

“[Head Coach] Ufuk [Talay] has got his own style and how he wants to play and they have shown good signs and were certainly competitive in their first two matches.

“We have a long haul coming up, but last year we went there and got a point and were happy to come away with the result.

“We’ll be doing everything we can to come away with the three points this weekend.”

In terms of early team news, meanwhile, Popovic confirmed that several players are closing in on a return to full fitness.

“Injury-wise, things are a lot better,” he said.

“We had no injuries from the last match, which is great.

“Ivan [Franjic] is back in after he unfortunately was carrying a knock, Tomi [Mrcela] is coming back soon and Jake Brimmer the same.

“All the players are starting to be more involved in training and I’m sure in the next three or four weeks, we’ll have a full complement and real competition for places.”

Phoenix, meanwhile, are set to be without suspended defender Liberato Cacace, but could hand a debut to new recruit Gary Hooper.

Match Details

Sunday, 27 October 2019

Wellington Phoenix v Perth Glory

Westpac Stadium, Wellington

Kick-Off: 6:00pm (Local) (1:00pm (WST))

Referee: Alex King

Assistant Referee 1: Wilson Brown

Assistant Referee 2: Daniel Ilievski

Fourth Official: Lachlan Keevers

VAR: Kris Griffiths-Jones

TV Broadcast: Live coverage on FOX SPORTS 505 from 12:30pm (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

Radio Broadcast: myfootballnation.com (1116SEN, SEN+, SEN2, SEN3, SEN SA, 6PR and Super Radio Network).

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

To purchase tickets visit www.a-league.com.au/tickets 

Wellington Phoenix squad: 1.Stefan MARINOVIC (gk), 2.Liam McGING, 3.Luke DEVERE, 4.Te Atawhai HUDSON-WIHONGI, 5.Matti STEINMANN, 6.Tim PAYNE, 7.Reno PISCOPO, 8.Cameron DEVLIN, 9.David BALL, 10.Ulises DAVILA, 11.Jaushua SOTIRIO, 14.Alex RUFER, 16.Louis FENTON, 17.Callan ELLIOT, 20.Oliver SAIL (gk), 21.Callum MCCOWATT, 23.Walter SCOTT, 27.Steven TAYLOR (c), 31.Ben WAINE, 88.Gary HOOPER

**2-4 to be omitted**

Ins: 2.Liam McGING (promoted), 17.Callan ELLIOT (promoted), 23.Walter SCOTT (promoted), 88.Gary HOOPER (new signing)

Outs: 13.Liberato CACACE (suspended – 2 matches)

Unavailable: Nil

Perth Glory squad: 1.Tando VELAPHI (gk), 2.Alex GRANT, 3.Jacob TRATT, 4.Gregory WUTHRICH, 5.Ivan FRANJIC, 6.Dino DJULBIC, 7.Joel CHIANESE, 9.Bruno FORNAROLI, 12.Kim SOO-BEOM 13.Osama MALIK, 14.Chris HAROLD, 15.Brandon WILSON, 16.Tomislav MRCELA, 17.Diego CASTRO (c), 19.Chris IKONOMIDIS, 27.JUANDE, 28.Gabriel POPOVIC, 29.Kristian POPOVIC, 33.Liam REDDY (gk), 88.Neil KILKENNY

 **2-4 to be omitted**

 Ins: 5.Ivan FRANJIC (promoted), 15.Brandon WILSON (promoted), 16.Tomislav MRCELA (promoted)

Outs: Nil

Unavailable: Nil