Topor-Stanley savouring working with Poppa

Western Sydney Wanderers FC will continue to develop at a rapid rate under coach Tony Popovic, according to defender Nikolai Topor-Stanley.

Western Sydney Wanderers FC will continue to develop at a rapid rate under coach Tony Popovic, according to defender Nikolai Topor-Stanley.

The former Jets centreback forms part of Wanderers FC-s inaugural backline, and Topor-Stanley says he-s only going to improve working with someone of Popovic-s calibre and experience in the same position.

“To have the chance to work under Poppa is a great opportunity,” Topor-Stanley said. “He played my position - left centreback - and he-s had a great career overseas and with the Socceroos, so to work under him is a bonus. I can learn a lot from him, even just in the 10 days so far.”

Topor-Stanley admitted it is still too soon to tell how the half-finished squad is coming together, but says the fact that so many of the players know each other already will help the team eventually.

“It-s very early days and we-ve only got half a squad, but as we get more players we-ll have more ideas where we stand positionally.

“Poppa-s harping on the possession and ball movement, we-re not quite up to scratch but it-s only day 10 and we-ve got two and half months to get it right.

“I-ve played with Tarek (Elrich) and Labinot (Haliti) for the past three years, and I know Bridgey (Mark Bridge) already. We trust the coaching staff to be a judge of character. It-s good to have that fresh start though.”

The big centreback also admitted that there is some pressure on the squad to succeed, given all the attention on the brand new club.

“It-s a big responsibility, being the new franchise in western Sydney. We owe it to the fans and ourselves to be successful.

“It-s only as much pressure as you put on yourself. We-re all professional and have high expectations of ourselves, we-re not going in to make pup the numbers. We might not have immediate success but it-ll come.”