A-League destiny still in hands of Wanderers

Wanderers coach Tony Popovic faces an anxious time. Photo: AAP Image.
Wanderers coach Tony Popovic faces an anxious time. Photo: AAP Image.

Western Sydney Wanderers coach Tony Popovic says his players must "concentrate on doing their job" as the race for the A-League Premier's Plate begins in earnest tonight at Pirtek Stadium.

The Wanderers will take on bottom club Central Coast Mariners knowing a win will take them back to the top of the ladder by one point in one of the most exciting finishes in A-League history.

Five clubs are still in with a shout of taking the minor premiership with two rounds left, and Popovic knows that three points tonight against the lowly Mariners will pile the pressure on to the other contenders - Melbourne City, Brisbane Roar, Adelaide United and Perth Glory.

Adelaide is playing Sydney FC tomorrow night, while the Roar takes on the Newcastle Jets on Sunday with Perth Glory finishing the penultimate round with a huge home clash against current leader Melbourne City, also on Sunday, with all of those results to have a bearing on the top of the ladder.

But Popovic said it was all down to how his team performed against the Mariners before what appears to be another fairly comfortable game against the Phoenix to finish off the season.

"It's very close," he said.

"I predicted three or four weeks ago that this would be a tight finish and it's exciting to be a part of that.

"We are certainly in the mix (to win the Premier's Plate).

"We just have to concentrate on doing our job. We can't control what happens in the other games.

"If we don't do our job then the other results become irrelevant."

The Wanderers slipped up last week with a 2-0 defeat to Melbourne Victory, which dealt their hopes of a second Premier's Plate a big blow.

But in their final clash at Pirtek Stadium before a temporary move to ANZ Stadium and Spotless Stadium next season while the Parramatta venue receives a revamp, Popovic said he was sure that if the team got back to playing its best football, the Wanderers could secure victory tonight.

"We have to keep playing the good football we have played for the majority of the season that has opened teams up and created the opportunities," he said.

"It really comes to our game and I am really confident we can do the job.

"We are still in control of our own destiny and then we move on to Wellington next week."

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