Tony Popovic has confirmed that his side are chomping at the bit ahead of Sunday’s Hyundai A-League season-opener against Brisbane Roar at HBF Park (kick off at 3pm, click HERE for tickets).
Glory will, of course, be out to defend the Premiers’ Plate which was secured in spectacular style last term and the club’s Head Coach cannot wait for hostilities to resume.
“The players are ready for Round 1,” he said.
“It’s been a long off-season and you can see it in the players that they are raring to go and want to put the pre-season behind them.
“In the last couple of weeks, the players have been looking really fresh, energetic and focused for the start of the season.”
The men in purple will face a much-changed Brisbane outfit this weekend, complete with a new figure in the dugout in the form of former Glory striker and Liverpool legend Robbie Fowler.
But while expecting the Queenslanders to provide a stern first-up test, Popovic is quietly confident that his charges can get off to a winning start.
“We are just focusing on us,” he said.
“They [Brisbane] have a new coach in Robbie [Fowler] and a lot of new players; similar numbers to what we’ve brought in as well.
“I’m sure there’s a lot of optimism in Brisbane about what they can achieve.
“We respect the work that they are trying to do and the ambitions that they have to get back to the top where they were accustomed to being.
“But we’re also here ourselves to put on a performance in front of our home fans who haven’t seen us at home since the Adelaide semi-final, so we’re really determined to start on the front foot and get the the three points.”
And Popovic was similarly unequivocal when it came to the club’s targets for the new season.
“Last year the goal was to challenge for the title and we said that from the start,” he said.
“This year it’s to try and do that again.
“We did something last year that hadn’t been done by Perth before and now we have to do something that hasn’t been done before again and that is to have success in two consecutive seasons.
“That’s the challenge we have and it’s an exciting one.
“It’s a good way to come into a season; with plenty of expectation and we’re enjoying that fact.
“We have to embrace that and tackle it head on.”
In terms of early team news, the only confirmed absentee for the hosts is Ivan Franjic who will serve a one-match suspension after seeing red in the FFA Cup clash with Western Sydney Wanderers.
Roar, meanwhile, are expected to hand Hyundai A-League debuts to a host of their new recruits including ex-Bury duo Tom Aldred and Jay O’Shea and livewire Welsh forward Aaron Amadi-Holloway and there could also be a place in the starting eleven for former Glory man, Scott Neville.
Glory will be looking to secure a fourth straight win over Roar who have claimed three points only once in their last nine visits to HBF Park.
Sunday, 13 October 2019
Perth Glory v Brisbane Roar
HBF Park, Perth
Kick-Off: 3:00pm (Local) (6:00pm (AEDT))
Referee: Shaun Evans
Assistant Referee 1: Josh Mannella
Assistant Referee 2: Arvin Shanmuganathan
Fourth Official: Adam Fielding
VAR: Chris Beath
Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tag #PERvBRI
Perth Glory squad: 1.Tando VELAPHI (gk), 2.Alex GRANT, 3.Jacob TRATT, 4.Gregory WUTHRICH, 6.Dino DJULBIC, 7.Joel CHIANESE, 8.James MEREDITH, 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, 20.Jake BRIMMER, 27.JUANDE, 29.Kristian POPOVIC, 33.Liam REDDY (gk), 88.Neil KILKENNY
**2-4 to be omitted**
Unavailable: 5.Ivan FRANJIC (suspended – 1 week)
Brisbane Roar squad: 1.Max CROCOMBE (gk), 2.Scott NEVILLE, 5.Tom ALDRED (c), 6.Macaulay GILLESPHEY, 7.Jai INGHAM, 8.Jacob PEPPER, 9.Roy O’DONOVAN, 10.Bradden INMAN, 12.Aiden O’NEILL, 13.Stefan MAUK, 15.Aaron REARDON, 20.Aaron AMADI-HOLLOWAY, 21.Jamie YOUNG (gk), 22.Jake MCGING, 23.Dylan WENZEL-HALLS, 24.Connor O’TOOLE, 25.Rahmat AKBARI, 26.Jay O’SHEA
**2 to be omitted**