Scott McDonald insists his Brisbane Roar teammates believe they belong among the Hyundai A-League’s finest after surging into Finals Series contention.
Robbie Fowler’s side take on reigning Hyundai A-League Premiers and fourth-placed outfit Perth Glory at what is expected to be a sold-out Dolphin Stadium in Redcliffe on Saturday at 5pm AEDT, 4pm local.
Brisbane have launched themselves to sixth in the ladder following a run of five wins in their last seven matches after falling to 10th position after Round 12.
Since McDonald signed for the Queenslanders from Western United on January 17, Fowler’s team have won four out of five and the veteran striker believes his teammates feel they have earned their right to be in the race for finals football.
“I think it was a really good time for me to come in for the club, with the squad winning a couple of games before I’ve got here,” McDonald said.
“We’ve managed to keep that momentum going and we’re playing some really good football.
“With that, the belief is growing as well that where we are is where we belong and we’re pushing and striding to even push further up the table.”
McDonald was forced to sit out the trip to Western United last week as Roar claimed a 1-0 win at Mars Stadium in Ballarat thanks to Mirza Muratovic’s second goal in two substitute appearances.
The 36-year-old admits it was frustrating to miss the clash against his former club after Brisbane struck an agreement with the Hyundai A-League newcomers as part of the transfer agreement.
“Obviously I want to play every game but I had to miss one out,” McDonald added.
“I’m just delighted that the boys managed to get the three points and we keep moving forward and I’m really looking forward to this weekend playing against Perth.
“It should be a really good game in what will be an amazing atmosphere.”
Glory travel to a jam-packed Dolphin Stadium four days after falling to a 1-0 defeat against J-League outfit FC Tokyo and Popovic is expecting a tough contest following a short turnaround.
"Brisbane are a team that is in good form and have jumped into the top six," Popovic told perthglory.com.au
"They've only lost once in their last seven or eight games, so they're on a very good run of results and are full of confidence.
"We know there'll be a good crowd to support them and it's a good challenge for us to shift quickly from the Asian Champions League to take on a team that is playing good football and getting results.
"The boys know they're going to be in for a real game."
Melbourne City v Brisbane Roar
Sunday, 1 March
Kick-off: 6.30pm AEDT
Newcastle Jets v Perth Glory
Saturday, 29 February
McDonald Jones Stadium
Kick-off: 5pm AEDT