Monday, February 18, 2013
Wanderers coy as top spot beckons
By Rashida Yosufzai
Fairytale team Western Sydney Wanderers could well be leading the A-League when they face benchmark club Central Coast in a season-defining clash on Saturday week.The competition newcomers trail the league-leading Mariners by just one point and have far the easier assignment this week.They meet second-last Perth before fervent home fans at Parramatta Stadium on Saturday, two hours before the Mariners are home to Ange Postecoglou's third-placed Melbourne Victory, who are doubtless still smarting from their weekend home loss to the Wanderers.So the stakes are high with just six rounds to go.No wonder always reticent Wanderers coach Tony Popovic wants to discuss little more than the immediate threat posed by Perth."We don't speak about anything in terms of positions or looking ahead. That's the way we work," Popovic insisted on Tuesday."We can't look at other games and say `if this one beats that one, this is what we could achieve'."None of that will happen unless we win."The Glory have already shown they could be a resurgent force in the wake of coach Ian Ferguson's sacking last week, toppling the Mariners 2-1 last weekend under new mentor Alistair Edwards."We can't say that Perth is not going to be a good test because they're down near the bottom," said Popovic."They've slightly changed the way they play and that happens when a new manager comes in (with) different ideas."We're on a great run as well, and we'll certainly show Perth the respect they deserve."For winger Mark Bridge and goalkeeper Ante Covic, Saturday's clash will be big in other ways - marking Bridge's 150th and Covic's 100th games respectively."As long as we win, I'll be happy," said Bridge.While the winger has bounced back from a disappointing season with Sydney FC, scoring eight goals this season, Bridge mirrored his coach's caution about talking up the Wanderers' success story too much."The last couple of weeks we probably haven't been at our best, but we still got the results," he said."Once we turn that around it's only going to get better."We're good, but we've still got more to give."