Popovic defiant over Ono's Wanderers future

A fiery Tony Popovic has hit out at reports marquee man Shinji Ono is on his way out of the Western Sydney Wanderers, insisting the classy midfielder is going nowhere.

A fiery Tony Popovic has hit out at reports marquee man Shinji Ono is on his way out of the Western Sydney Wanderers, insisting the classy midfielder is going nowhere.

Off-contract at the end of the A-League season, speculation has intensified in recent weeks the Japanese star was looking to leave the club in the January transfer window.

While the Wanderers have yet to offer the 34-year-old a new deal, Popovic is confident the club can reach an agreement that will see Ono stay in Sydney west for at least another season.

But with rival clubs circling – both in the A-League and abroad – Wanderers fans will be nervous until Ono puts pen to paper.

When pressed about the club's position he responded: "You (media) do know what the club's position is, he's not going in January," said Popovic when asked about rumours Ono could leave before the end of the season.

"I think the club has made their position clear on that."

Asked if he had spoken to Ono about talk he was eyeing a return to Japan, Popovic said: "No I haven't needed to speak to Shinji about it.

"We're clear on where we're going and Shinji's fine. He's very happy.

"You saw how he played (against Central Coast) on the weekend.

"He's in a very good place and there's nothing for us to worry about."

The only thing Popovic is worried about right now is a tough trip to Melbourne to face the Victory on Saturday night.

The Wanderers are set to be boosted by the return of influential trio Mark Bridge, Aaron Mooy and Brendon Santalab from injury.

But the news isn't so good for the Victory, with coach Kevin Muscat confirming striker Archie Thompson would miss the clash with a hamstring strain.

Thompson, who was a late withdrawal from the win in the derby last weekend, failed to train with the side on Friday and won't be risked with the games coming thick and fast during the festive schedule.

"He's not available for the weekend but he's tracking well," Muscat told reporters.

"Connor Pain came in for us last week and did a great job for us."