Thursday, February 21, 2013
Wanderers cool on verge of A-League lead
By Angela Habashy
Western Sydney have already exceeded all expectations in their debut season but coach Tony Popovic is demanding more from his Wanderers who could finish Saturday on top of the A-League ladder.The rampant Wanderers are chasing a seventh straight victory when they face ninth-placed Perth Glory at Parramatta Stadium on Saturday.If they get up and Central Coast Mariners lose to third-placed Melbourne Victory in the later match in Gosford the same day, the competition newcomers will take over the competition lead.It would be another big milestone for the Wanderers in their inaugural season yet coach Tony Popovic insists the only thing on their planning agenda is getting better."No, it (top spot) is not something I've mentioned throughout the year at all and it's not something we'll start thinking about now," Popovic said on Friday.The Wanderers sit just one point adrift of the Mariners after posting a 2-1 win over Victory last week.But the Glory will also be on a high after staging a come-from-behind 2-1 win over the Central Coast last Saturday under new coach Alastair Edwards."The last couple of weeks we feel that in certain areas we can do better and the players know that themselves," said Popovic."If you want to be the best you always have to look for those small details to get better."A win over the Glory would edge the Wanderers close to Victory's all-time A-League record of eight consecutive triumphs.But Popovic is wary of a Glory side still boasting many players from last year's grand final squad and containing so much attacking power, including the league's highest-ever goalscorer Shane Smeltz."That front third you've got (Liam) Miller and Smeltz and (Travis) Dodd ... they're players who on their day can really hurt you."So they'll come here with confidence. But we're a confident side as well and we've won six straight from playing some good football ourselves."But instead of being content with having six straight we want more."Meanwhile, Popovic is confident the club are on the verge of announcing Japanese star Shinji Ono will be staying on for another season."We believe we're close. Certainly speaking to him yesterday he's very happy and we believe it's just the final details now," he said."We want him here, he wants to stay and that's the main thing."