Popovic patient to build Wanderers FC squad

Western Sydney Wanderers FC head coach Tony Popovic is happy with the way his playing squad is coming together, despite the start of the Hyundai A-League season being just 11 weeks away.

Western Sydney Wanderers FC head coach Tony Popovic is happy with the way his playing squad is coming together, despite the start of the Hyundai A-League season being just 11 weeks away.

Question have been raised over the time Popovic is taking to build the inaugural Wanderers FC team, but the coach said he-s taking all the time he needs to find the right players that will fit into his style of play.

“There are time constraints,” Popovic admitted. “I-d love to have a squad ready now but we knew there would be a process, that it would take time, and this first game will give a lot of these traillists an opportunity.

“It would be easy to get 20 players, then say I-ve got my squad and off we go. But I-m taking my time; I want to be as sure as I can be with the players available,” Popovic said.

“It does give you less time to get the squad together and gel but it-s a long pre-season and if by the end of August I-ve got the squad I want - or close to it - that-ll still give us five or six weeks to get the team cohesive for that first game.”

Rather than rush to sign a full squad, Popovic is instead working through a long list of triallists from the A-League and state leagues, holding intense training sessions to imprint his own playing philosophy on the club and deciding which of the many hopefuls best meet his expectations of the playing standard for Wanderers FC.

“We-re bringing different players in constantly, we-re watching the state leagues every weekend and the boys who are playing well are getting rewarded. We-ve signed a few of the boys to youth league contracts, and we-re constantly looking for that rough diamond that can make a difference.

“It-s difficult - for some of these boys it-s their first session and you try to instil something in them. That kind of intensity is new to them but you give these young boys a week or two and see if they progress and improve.”

And Popovic had a message for anyone that doubts he can put together a successful and cohesive in such a short space of time.

“We want to be a team that plays quick and moves the ball quickly, and to do that you need to have the ball. We-re taking small steps forward and trying to instil the right habits in the triallists as well, in case they do sign.

“You can say we haven-t got this, we started late... But you won-t hear me trying to use excuses about why we haven-t got a team together. Come that first game against Central Coast, we-ll be ready and we-ll be prepared.”