The previews have been written and the squads assembled. The A-League season launches into action on Friday.
Perth Glory have not managed to become a force to be reckoned with over past seasons, but the team often labelled a mid-table side could look vastly different in 2018-19.
Perth Glory’s biggest issue in recent years is their poor defensive record. Over the past two seasons Perth have leaked the most goals in the competition, conceding on average two goals per game.
In comes Tony Popovic
Tony Popovic, a decorated former Socceroos defender, has proven his coaching credentials, having led Western Sydney Wanderers to three A-League grand finals and guided them to become the first Australian club to win the Asian Champions League in 2013-14.
A stint in Turkey’s top division coaching Karabukspor didn’t work out, however, and in May 2018 it was announced he had signed a three-year deal with Perth Glory.
“We want to try and take the club to another level, try and get that consistency where the club is making their members and their fans proud on a regular basis, where they are challenging for honours,” Popovic said.
Popovic is shrewd tactically and has a clear vision of what he wants to achieve at the club. Players know exactly where they stand with him, and if they don’t meet the standard set. they won’t be in the first team.
What will the new Perth Glory look like?
A bunch of major signings have occurred in the off-season and the squad on paper looks extremely hard to beat.
Ahead of the 2018-19 season the Glory have signed Ivan Franjic, Tomislav Mrcela, Brendon Santalab, Matthew Spiranovic, Tando Velaphi, Fabio Ferreira, Jason Davidson and Juan de Dios Prados Lopez (Juande).
With Adam Taggart the only major departure, the squad has only been strengthened.
Perth Glory current squad
Liam Reddy, Dino Djulbic, Alex Grant, Shane Lowry, Scott Neville, Jake Brimmer, Jacob Italiano, Neil Kilkenny, Joel Chianese, Chris Harold, Andy Keogh, Fabio Ferreira, Diego Castro, Ivan Franjic, Tomislav Mrcela, Brendon Santalab, Matthew Spiranovic, Tando Velaphi, Jason Davidson, Juan de Dios Prados Lopez (Juande).
Perth Glory best XI
Liam Reddy (GK)
Ivan Franjic (RWB), Matthew Spiranovic (CB), Tomislav Mrcela (CB), Shane Lowry (CB), Jason Davidson (LWB)
Juande (CM), Neil Killkeny (CM)
Fabio Ferreira (RW), Diego Castro (LW)
Andy Keogh (ST)
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Will Popovic’s Plan Work?
It certainly has the potential to work. With the many signing made in the off-season, the defensive issues look to have been mended.
Scoring goals have not been so much of an issue in recent years, and with the addition of players like Ferreira and Santalab, both of whom can make an impact from the get-go, it shouldn’t be much of a concern this year either.
Popovic looks a determined man who has a clear outlook of what he aims to achieve at the club. He has made a lot of positive moves so far and has provided the fans with a lot of excitement for the season ahead.
Only time will tell if Popovic has managed to revive the fallen Perth Glory FC.