Match Preview: 'We're on the right path to challenge for honours again' - Popa

Head Coach Tony Popovic is confident that Glory are close to recapturing the kind of form that swept the club to a maiden Hyundai A-League Premiership last season.

Popa's presser in full

The men in purple are poised to host reigning champions Sydney FC on Saturday (kick off at 6.45pm, tickets HERE) looking to avenge last season's Grand Final defeat.

And Popovic believes that his charges are well-placed to shine in what promises to be a enthralling clash with the in-form Sky Blues.

"It's a big game because it's Sydney FC, but it's also a big game because it's Perth Glory," he said.

"We can't forget that.

"Everyone will be watching this game, not just because of one side, but because they know the other team that they're up against, Perth Glory, is a very good team.

"I'm sure we'll show we're a great side on Saturday.

"We were disappointed with our last performance at home, in particular, the first half.

"We've had a couple of weeks to train and reflect and we really want to put in a top performance in front of our fans.

"We need to keep improving and working hard and we know that the team is becoming more stable.

"We're seeing that in terms of our training, the combinations becoming more natural and the understanding getting better and I'm sure that will continue to grow.

"We're not far off. We've been performing well enough.

"Can we do better? Of course, in both defence and attack, but we feel that that stability is coming.

"We're getting good opportunities and I feel we're really close.

"I'm sure we're going to see a real improvement in our performances in this next block of games."

Popovic went on to reaffirm his ambition for Glory to establish themselves as one of the competition's perennial heavy-hitters.

"Our motivation is to be a team that challenges for the title again this year," he said.

"Last year we were a big team and we need to challenge again consistently to be a big team once more.

"We're up against the biggest club [Sydney FC] this week. 

"We're on a path that we want to be among those two Melbourne and two Sydney teams in being regarded as big clubs and that takes time.

"First we need to establish ourselves as a big team and for that you need consistency.

"We're confident that we're on the right path to be  a team that can challenge for honours once more."

In terms of early team news, Glory will be without the suspended Alex Grant and Popovic confirmed that fellow-defender Osama Malik will also miss out as he continues to battle a hamstring injury.

Sydney FC, meanwhile, will again be without long-term absentee Ben Warland.

Match Details

Saturday 23 November 2019

Hyundai A-League 2019/20 Season Round 7

Perth Glory v Sydney FC

HBF Park, Perth

Kick-Off: 6.45pm (Local)

Referee: Daniel Elder

Assistant Referee 1: Josh Mannella

Assistant Referee 2: Arvin Shanmuganathan

Fourth Official: Shane Skinner

VAR: Stephen Lucas

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

Perth Glory squad: 1.Tando VELAPHI (gk), 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, 16.Tomislav MRCELA, 17.Diego CASTRO (c), 18.Nick D’AGOSTINO, 19.Chris IKONOMIDIS, 20.Jake BRIMMER, 27.JUANDE, 28.Gabriel POPOVIC, 29.Kristian POPOVIC, 33.Liam REDDY (gk), 88.Neil KILKENNY

**2-4 to be omitted**

Ins: 3.Jacob TRATT (promoted), 16.Tomislav MRCELA (returns from injury), 18.Nick D’AGOSTINO (returns from injury), 29.Kristian POPOVIC (returns from international duty)

Outs: 2.Alex GRANT (suspended – 1 week)

Unavailable: 13.Osama MALIK (hamstring – 1 week)

Sydney FC squad: 1.Andrew REDMAYNE (gk), 2.Patrick FLOTTMANN, 4.Alex WILKINSON (c), 5.Alex BAUMJOHANN, 6.Ryan McGOWAN, 7.Michael ZULLO, 8.Paulo RETRE, 9.Adam LE FONDRE, 10.Milos NINKOVIC, 11.Kosta BARBAROUSES, 12.Trent BUHAGIAR, 13.Brandon O’NEILL, 16.Joel KING, 17.Anthony CACERES, 18.Luke IVANOVIC, 20.Tom HEWARD-BELLE (gk), 21.Harry VAN DER SAAG, 23.Rhyan GRANT, 24.Marco TILIO, 26.Luke BRATTAN.

**2-4 to be omitted**

In: 21.Harry VAN DER SAAG (return from international duty), 24.Marco TILIO (promoted)

Out: Nil

Unavailable: 3.Ben WARLAND (ACL - indefinite), 19. Chris ZUVELA (knee)

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