From bottom of the Hyundai A-League table to gunning for a sixth consecutive win, Tony Popovic has his Perth Glory side purring once again.
Glory were dead last after Round 8, but five wins on the trot have hauled themselves into third with a game in hand on Melbourne City who sit just two points above them in second.
Now the Premiers have the chance to secure a sixth successive victory when they travel to face Western Sydney Wanderers at Bankwest Stadium on Sunday afternoon, and Popovic says it’s a chance he and his side are determined to take.
Read Popovic’s pre-match thoughts, how Michael Jakobsen sees Adelaide turning their form slump around, City captain Scott Jamieson’s thoughts on new signing Markel Susaeta and more in our wrap of the pressers ahead of Round 15.
Popovic, Glory prepare to make history
Popovic says although he has not discussed the potential of breaking Glory’s record winning streak of five games this weekend with his players, they are all aware of what is at stake as they prepare to face the Wanderers on Sunday (6:30pm kick-off AEDT).
“We haven’t [discussed it with the players], I think they’re aware – it would be a first for the club,” Popovic said on Thursday.
“You have to put yourself in a position to try and achieve that in the A-League.
“Now we have a chance. It’s a credit to them that it’s a discussion point whether we can win six in a row; it’s a really positive point for us.”
The Glory are in a commanding position on the table with second-placed Melbourne City at their mercy.
But only weeks ago they were the cellar dwellers of the league, and Popovic says the tough times endured through the start of the season are inspiring his side to keep their incredible run of form alive.
“Everyone at the club is happy with the run we’re on, we’re seeing a determination from the players that they want to keep these going,” he said.
“Not long ago we were at the bottom of the table, so we know what that feels like as well.
“[We were] playing and not getting results, we don’t want to take our run for granted.
“It’s another opportunity on Sunday to extend this run. We have a chance to do it away from home against a big club and we’re looking forward to playing at the new stadium and seeing if we can get another win.”
MATCH PREVIEW: Western Sydney Wanderers v Perth Glory
Jakobsen, Reds aim to shake down the Victory
They are currently locked in a terrible run of form, but Adelaide United are confident they will end their four-game losing streak when they host Original Rivals Melbourne Victory at Coopers Stadium tomorrow night (7:30pm AEDT).
Reds captain Michael Jakobsen says Adelaide’s recent struggles boil down to the poor form of the team as a unit, not any individuals, but the Reds are relishing the chance to face the Victory with recent form against the Melbourne outfit on their side.
“It couldn’t have come at a better time,” Jakobsen told reporters on Wednesday.
“There’s always something special about it when it’s against your rivals.
“Three points are on the line and we need to grab them now, there’s no other team you’d rather do it against.
“I think we can look back on the first game we had against them here [a 3-1 win in Round 7].
“We did a lot of things right and made it very tough for them, if we can pull off a performance like that again I’m pretty sure that we’re going to win."
“I think it’s time we see the seriousness of it, that we are on four losses in a row which is not good enough,” Jakobsen continued.
“We have high expectations on ourselves.
“It’s back to basics leading into a very important game for the club, for us, for our fans.
“We need to perform a lot better or we’re not going to get anything out of it either.”
MATCH PREVIEW: Adelaide United v Melbourne Victory
Jamieson excited by new City signing Susaeta
Melbourne City captain Scott Jamieson says the arrival of Spanish midfielder Markel Susaeta is an enormous boost to a City squad already oozing with class.
“It certainly is [a big deal],” Jamieson said in a club press conference.
“As a nation we’re very lucky to have someone of his calibre, and more so as a football club to have someone of Markel’s calibre.
“I think it’s just about trying to get him adapted to the league here, the culture, and that’s up to the club, the players and myself to make him feel really welcome.
“Hopefully Markel is that kind of X-factor... he could be someone that could change a game, and him coming in will be a boost to everybody.”
It may take time for City’s new arrival to get up to speed with the unique rigours of the Hyundai A-League but, while Susaeta finds his feet, Jamieson has urged his side to find more consistency in their results.
City registered four wins and four losses between Rounds 5-13 but have gone unbeaten in their last two games, and can stretch that run to three with a positive result against Newcastle Jets at AAMI Park on Saturday afternoon (7:30pm AEDT).
“In terms of where we sit at the moment it was important not to lose at the weekend [in City’s 2-2 draw against Brisbane],” Jamieson said.
“That might sound weird to people because we’re a club that wants to win every game.
“We’ve gone through a sequence of games where we’ve won, we’ve lost, and it was becoming too inconsistent.
“I feel just from a mentality perspective with us not losing on the weekend it really gives us a chance to go on a run now, and put in a big shift in terms of consistency of results.
“The result on the weekend against Brisbane puts us in good stead to really go on a sequence of results.
“Newcastle being manager-less, the shackles are off in that sense because there’s no expectation of there’s going to be a casualty of their manager losing their job now.
“They’ve got an interim manager and they can play a bit [more freely].
“They have some very good players and two years ago they were in a Grand Final and still have a lot of that squad, so we don’t underestimate them whatsoever.”
MATCH PREVIEW: Melbourne City v Newcastle Jets