Tony Popovic is adamant that confidence remains high in the Glory camp as the squad prepares for Friday's clash with Melbourne City at AAMI Park (kick-off 4.30pm WST).
Glory return to the Victorian capital for a second successive week having been edged out by Melbourne Victory at the same venue in Round 8 despite dominating the game for long periods.
And with several solid training sessions under their belt, the club's Head Coach feels that his charges are ready to go toe-to-toe with Erick Mombaerts' high-fliers.
"The spirit is there," he said. "The character of the team is fantastic.
"We just have to keep working and improving our game.
"We're not far off in terms of our performances, we know that.
"We didn't perform badly at all against Melbourne [Victory].
"It was a very good performance away from home, but we came away with nothing.
"That tells you that we're almost there, but we have some work to do and if we keep making sure that our game is improving, maybe those little details will fall our way.
"The players have trained well this week; it's not about lifting them.
"They're disappointed, as they should be, with the results. We all are.
"But confidence I judge by what I see in training. Players can't hide their body language or their demeanour.
"They're training extremely hard and they really want this to work. They know they're close and Friday's an opportunity to get a result with the performance."
Not that Popovic is expecting City to provide anything other than a stern test, particularly with former Glory man Jamie Maclaren in such prolific form in front of goal.
"They've made an excellent start under their new manager and are playing a very dynamic game," he said.
"They have a striker who doesn't get many attempts, but when he does, he scores.
"So they are in very good form and it's a really tough challenge.
"But we've had many tough challenges and we've got the better of the opponent many a time, so this is another opportunity for us to try and show another improvement in our game and give Melbourne City a real run for their money on their turf."
Popovic went on to confirm that Osama Malik has not recovered from his hamstring injury in time to join the travelling party, but that several other previous absentees could potentially return to the selection mix.
Friday, 6 December 2019
Melbourne City FC v Perth Glory
AAMI Park, Melbourne
Kick-Off: 4:30pm (WST) (7:30pm (Local))
Referee: Shaun Evans
Assistant Referee 1: Owen Goldrick
Assistant Referee 2: George Lakrindis
Fourth Official: Lachlan Keevers
VAR: Kris Griffiths-Jones
TV Broadcast: Live coverage on FOX SPORTS 505 from 7:00pm (AEDT) 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+, SEN 2, SEN 3 & SEN SA, SportFM Perth, Super Radio Network).
Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tag #MCYvPER
To purchase tickets visit www.a-league.com.au/tickets
Melbourne City FC squad list: 1.Tom GLOVER (gk), 2.Scott GALLOWAY, 3.Scott JAMIESON (c), 4.Harrison DELBRIDGE, 6.Josh BRILLANTE, 7.Rostyn GRIFFITHS, 8.Javier CABRERA, 9.Jamie MACLAREN, 10.Florin BERENGUER 11.Craig NOONE, 13.Nathaniel ATKINSON, 17.Denis GENREAU, 19.Lachlan WALES, 20.Adrian LUNA, 21.Ramy NAJJARINE, 22.Curtis GOOD, 23.Dean BOUZANIS (gk), 30.Moudi NAJJAR, 34.Connor METCALFE, 49.Stefan COLAKOVSKI
**2-4 to be omitted**
Ins: 10.Florin BERENGUER (promoted), 34.Connor METCALFE (promoted), 49.Stefan COLAKOVSKI (promoted)
Outs: 39.Idrus ABDULAHI (omitted)
Unavailable: 40.Richard WINDBICHLER (hamstring)
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, 8.James MEREDITH, 9.Bruno FORNAROLI, 12.Kim SOO-BEOM, 14.Chris HAROLD, 15.Brandon WILSON, 16.Tomislav MRCELA, 17.Diego CASTRO (c), 19.Chris IKONOMIDIS, 20.Jake BRIMMER, 27.JUANDE, 28.Gabriel POPOVIC, 33.Liam REDDY (gk), 88.Neil KILKENNY
**2-4 to be omitted**
Ins: 3.Jacob TRATT (promoted), 15.Brandon WILSON (promoted), 16.Tomislav MRCELA (returns from injury), 28.Gabriel POPOVIC (promoted)
Outs: 29.Kristian POPOVIC (injured)
Unavailable: 13.Osama MALIK (hamstring – 1 week), 29.Kristian POPOVIC (thigh – 2 weeks)