Glory preparing for back-to-back seasons due to coronavirus concerns

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Perth Glory coach Tony Popovic says he expects most AFC Champions League games will be postponed due to the ongoing coronavirus concerns in Asia.

Perth have played just one AFC game so far this season, a defeat away against FC Tokyo, and have had their upcoming clash with Ulsan both relocated and pushed back.

“We already have some games in June and late May, so it may be that we have some more matches then,” Popovic said.

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“It certainly looks to be going that way.

“At the moment the Shanghai game is still on at the end of April so we’ll see what happens there and wait to see if anything changes.”

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Glory are yet to travel overseas since the outbreak of the virus with the Tokyo trip undertaken free of the current health concerns.

Popovic did express concerns for the health of his children, with both Kristian and Gabriel Popovic being in the club’s AFC squad and the pair earning more frequent game time.

“As a father, I have concerns like any parent does,” he said.

“Tokyo was safe so we were more than happy to travel and Korea wasn’t safe so we didn’t travel.

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“If where we are going is deemed safe, I will take my sons as I would take any of the other players on the team.”

If the bulk of the tournament was to be moved to the end of the A-League season, Australian clubs may face issues with player contracts expiring at the end of the domestic season.

For Perth and Sydney FC, the postponed tournament would likely come at the conclusion of a long finals campaign.

Experienced defender Alex Grant was happy with how the situation had been managed.

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“The club have been looking after us to be fair, and it’s probably the smart thing to do in the scheme of things with the travel ban set in place,” he said.

“It’s something we try not to pay too much attention to but it’s definitely lingering there in the background.

“I don’t think I’m going to get any time off to be honest, it would be nice to get some time off between seasons but if that’s the way it is and we need to play through than that’s the way it is.”

Grant said as the side had only played one AFC match they were excited to play more and hopefully progress through the group stage.

Feature Image Credit: Ngau Kai Yan

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