Football 3 years ago

WSW prepared for Mariners attack: Popovic

  • WSW prepared for Mariners attack: Popovic

Tony Popovic respects the way Central Coast are trying to play football, but no level of attack will stop him driving back down the F3 on Sunday night with three more points in his pocket.

The Western Sydney coach says his in-form team will not sacrifice their new possession-based style no matter what the Mariners throw at them - and based on evidence it could be a lot.

Central Coast's uncompromising commitment to play forward has certainly rattled some rivals in the opening rounds, but it's ultimately yielded only a single win and conceded 14 goals along the way.

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"We're fully prepared, we know what we need to do in terms of our game," Popovic said.

"We respect our opponent in how they're playing and the way they're trying to play their game.

"But the three points will come down to what we do, and if we continue improving and playing the type of football we are - being hard to beat as well - we certainly have a chance to extend our run."

If they are successful, that streak will hit five matches - the Wanderers' second-longest in their history only to their astonishing 10-game run in their inaugural season.

It was also during that season that a very different looking Western Sydney picked up their last win at Central Coast Stadium, in one of the first chapters of the two sides' short but thrilling rivalry.

That 1-0 victory in March 2013 was critical in their historic Premiers' Plate triumph, only for Graham Arnold's Mariners to trump them in the grand final six weeks later.

Popovic admitted he would never forget the occasion, but was also thinking ahead to what his ever-improving new-look outfit could accomplish.

"I think four in a row is a great achievement ... we've had to put the poor start behind us in terms of results," he said.

"We didn't focus on that, we knew a win was just around the corner, and now we want another win which is just around the corner.

"We're playing a team that's strong at home, very enthusiastic, a lot of energy.

"We're going to have to match that and be at our best, and hopefully we can drive back down the freeway with another three points."

Italian striker Federico Piovaccari and defender Brendan Hamill did not train with the main group on Friday, with Popovic indicating some players had "a few niggles".

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