Popa departure no excuse against Glory: Cornthwaite

Western Sydney Wanderers skipper Robbie Conthwaite has played down talk the departure of coach Tony Popovic this week will have any affect in Sunday’s season opener against Perth Glory.

The Wanderers were rocked last weekend when coach Tony Popovic announced he was departing the club to take up a job in Turkey.

It was the last thing anyone at the Wanderers expected just a week out from their Round 1 Hyundai A-League 2017/18 Season clash against the Glory at Spotless Stadium.

But Cornthwaite stressed on Saturday it’s been business as usual at Wanderland.

"As a playing group moved on pretty quick, there was a couple of days of transition," the skipper told reporters on Saturday.

"Obviously it was a shock, Popa has been here since day one.

"I'm sure everyone, even not associated with the club, will have a bit of a different feeling watching the game on Sunday and not seeing Popa on the sideline.

"But his dynasty or era is over now and it's time to move on.

"Expectations and standards haven't changed and with this squad I still think we can be the best team in the league this year.”

All focus for the Wanderers has been on preparing for the visit of Kenny Lowe’s Glory, who head to Sydney confident of making a winning start to the campaign.

Hayden Foxe
Hayden Foxe will be at the helm against Glory on Sunday.

Glory have recruited strongly in the off-season and possess a potent attack with the likes of skipper Andy Keogh, Diego Castro, Adam Taggart and new-boy Xavi Torres in their line-up.

"They've got some quite talented flair playing on the edge players," interim Wanderers boss Hayden Foxe said of Glory.

"They are going to be tough, they like to win their second balls, they like to put their foot in.

“But we’re ready to go and I’m sure we’ll put in a good performance.”

The Wanderers have lost just once of their eight matches at Spotless Stadium and have lost just one of their last six clashes with Glory.