Glory wary of giant-killing Wanderers
They were written off at the start of the A-League season, but Western Sydney Wanderers will be aiming to nab another big scalp when they take on Perth Glory at nib Stadium on Sunday.
Western Sydney started their campaign with a solid draw against Central Coast, but their 1-0 win over defending premiers Brisbane Roar at Suncorp Stadium in round four proved they had the ability to beat the best on enemy territory.
A respectable seven points from six games has left the Wanderers within touching distance of the top-six, but they will need to reproduce the heroics they displayed against Brisbane if they are to get anything out of their trip to Perth.
Glory have won 10 of their past 11 games at home, and are in no mood to give up any points to the new kids on the block.
Perth coach Ian Ferguson praised the work of Wanderers coach Tony Popovic in cobbling together a competitive outfit.
Ferguson knows all about the challenges of starting up a new team after being put in charge of the now-defunct North Queensland Fury in 2009.
The Fury were a rabble financially and lacked depth on their list, but came within two points of snaring a finals berth in their first season.
"It was a difficult place to get players to go to," Ferguson recalled.
"When I say players, I mean the top quality players.
"I was basically left with what was left over."
Wanderers recruit Shinji Ono is slowly finding his feet in the league, and Ferguson remains wary of the Japanese star.
"In last week's game I thought he was the best player on the park," Ferguson said.
"He's got a bit of an X-factor about him."
Fourth-placed Glory have been criticised for their perceived rough-house style this season, but Popovic felt Ferguson's charges had been unfairly judged.
"Sometimes they don't get the credit they deserve for the football they play," Popovic said.
"They're a strong side, they're a committed side. But you see some of the goals they score, it comes from good football."
Glory striker Shane Smeltz, who came off the bench for New Zealand in their 1-1 draw with China on Wednesday, is yet to score a goal this season and is keen to open his account against the Wanderers.