Popovic: Glory must work hard

22 February 2019 07:45:57 EST

Coach Tony Popovic wants his Perth Glory side to put in a big shift when they take on his former club Western Sydney Wanderers.

It's Popovic's first return to his old team and there's a big gulf between the clubs with Perth riding high and Wanderers in eighth place.

The Glory have a nine-point lead at the top of the table over defending champions Melbourne Victory and are bidding for a fifth consecutive victory.

Popovic, though, says the contrasting league positions of the teams can't be something that gives his team grounds for complacency.

"We won't be forgetting the fact that, without hard work, things can change very quickly and we won't take anything for granted," he said. "We'll continue to work hard, prepare as we do and respect our opponents.

"They [Wanderers] are a very dangerous opponent with some very good players. We'll go there confident but knowing that we'll have to play well."

Popovic was Western Sydney's inaugural coach and led them to the minor premiership in their first season in the A-League. He then made history when Wanderers became the first Australian team to win the Asian Champions League title - they beat Al Hilal in the 2014 final.

Popovic quit just before the start of last season to take up a job in Turkey and admits that he doesn't know how he will be received by the Wanderers fans when he goes back to Spotless Stadium.

"Whatever it is, I'm sure deep down they'll respect the time we had together," he added. "How they show that will be up to them; I've got fantastic memories from my time there."

Glory defenders Alex Grant (abdomen) and Tomislav Mrcela (thigh) are still sidelined for the game.

Perth Glory are 10/11 to beat Western Sydney, who are 14/5 to emerge victorious, with the draw 14/5.

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