Rivals meet again in derby

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Western Sydney Wanderers coach Tony Popovic believes his winless side can rescue its A-League campaign, and what better way to do it than this Saturday night against Sydney FC.

Last year’s A-League grand finalists are currently in the midst of their worst A-League campaign on record, sitting at the bottom of the table with two draws and four losses to their name.

Speaking with the media on Tuesday morning, coach Popovic was on the defensive when pressed on the importance of getting that elusive first win under their belt.

“We want to win every game we play, that’s why we’ve been successful,” he said.

“That’s why we’ve won an Asian Champions League, it’s why we’ve won a Premier’s Plate and why we’ve made two grand finals. We want to win every match we play and Saturday night will be no different.”

Popovic’s men will line up for the second time this season against a Sydney FC side who are humming along nicely with new coach Graham Arnold at the helm. The Sky Blues are yet to lose a game this year but were certainly put to the test the last time the two sides met back on October 18.

“Derby games are special and every player wants to be involved in that,” Popovic said.

“We had a poor result in Round 2, we were up 2-0 and fell away in the second half which was disappointing, but we’ve improved a lot since then.”

Last Saturday night the Wanderers got back to their attacking best against the A-League’s other winless side, Newcastle.

The Wanderers hit the lead early through Tomi Juric but conceded late in the half, which ultimately saw the game end in a draw.

“The performance was very good, we created numerous opportunities but that’s football and unfortunately it didn’t go in for us,” Popovic said.

“If we can maintain that level of performance and improve on that then we go into the game with confidence on Saturday.”

One player looking forward to playing in his first Sydney derby is new recruit and Socceroos’ playmaker Nikita Rukavytsya.

The 27-year-old Ukrainian-born winger has only played in a handful of games for the Wanderers this season and missed out on the much-hyped game last month.

“I unfortunately couldn’t be part of the first game but it was a really great atmosphere,” Rukavytsya said.

The Wanderers take on Sydney FC at 7.30pm this Saturday night at Pirtek Stadium.


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