Popovic calls for Glory to embrace the heat

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Perth Glory coach Tony Popovic says his side can make the extreme heat work in their favour when they meet Western Sydney Wanderers.

Temperatures of more than 40 degrees are forecast for Saturday in Perth, part of a run of remarkably hot days in Western Australia.

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“We train in the heat, and we need to show the benefits of that for us and how we can control a game in very difficult conditions,” Popovic said.

“The conditions are not ideal to play football, we know that but we’ve just got to face whatever is put in front of us and the conditions will be one of the challenges on top of a good opponent.

“We should embrace the heat.”

Popovic said he had given little thought to the prospect of the fixture being postponed or abandoned.

“We’ll go into the game preparing to play, it’s a night kick off so that should help and hopefully the weather will be kind enough so that we can still get a good game of football on the field of a high standard,” he said.

“The welfare and the safety of the players is most important but also the fans that come and watch the game, we want them to be able to sit and watch and enjoy and not be concerned about the elements.”

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New Glory defender James Meredith has played all of his football in Europe and has never experienced playing in temperatures like the ones forecast.

“I’ve never played in this heat before,” Meredith said.

“We train very hard to prepare ourselves the best we can and it’s a later fixture so hopefully that makes it a bit better.

“You can’t be flat out for 90 minutes in 40-degree heat, you’ve probably got to pick your moments to give it your all.”

Popovic admitted the heat could come into reckoning on match day in determining his team’s style of play.

“Style is something we will discuss when we get closer to the game, it’s certainly something on the match day we will see what the weather is,” he said.

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“We’re comfortable we can deal with the elements, regardless of what they are and that we will have a game that will show a really good performance regardless.”

Perth’s victory over Melbourne City was just their second for the season and their first clean sheet of the year.

They now face a Western Sydney side desperate to turn their fortunes around.

Popovic was wary of the challenge posed by their opponents.

“We know they haven’t got the results recently, but if you look at their recent performance against Wellington in the first half they were very good,” he said.

“They are a very dynamic team in the front third and we’ll have to be on top of our game.”

Feature Image Credit: Vision Inspired Photography

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