Tony Popovic says new marquee Álvaro Cejudo and returning club legend Mark Bridge won’t play a part in tomorrow night’s Westfield FFA Cup clash against Wellington Phoenix.
The Wanderers will make their first competitive bow of the season at Campbelltown Stadium though will have to do without two of their newest acquisitions.
The match comes too soon for Spanish marquee Cejudo, who arrived in the country over the weekend, while Bridge is awaiting official clearance after returning home earlier this month.
Winger Josh Sotirio will also miss out on the game through suspension for his red card in last season’s finals fixture against Brisbane Roar.
Tony Popovic said that apart from the trio, he’ll have a full squad at his disposal for the match.
“Fitness-wise so far this pre-season everyone is good, we hope that continues,” said Popovic.
“We’ve got a few players that aren’t eligible as yet: Álvaro’s just arrived; Josh [Sotirio] is suspended; Bridgey, we’re just waiting on a few details to come through for him but he probably wouldn’t have been ready to play regardless.”
The Wanderers will be hoping to overcome the Nix in the Round of 32 for the second consecutive season, following the Wanderers’ 3-2 come-from-behind win in last year’s tournament.
Though Popovic says he’s wary of a new-look Wellington side who are coming into the match with something to prove.
“They’ve got a new coaching staff, I’m sure the new coach will want to implement the way he wants to play and his standards and expectations and I’m sure there’ll be some changes in what they do.
“Some teams will be more advanced than others but when you go out on the field it’s a cup game, it’s two A-League teams up against each other and you know you have to perform to win.”