Perth Glory 2018-19 preview: Popovic's men are title contenders

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Things are looking positive in Western Australia, with an experienced coach who looks to have all the pieces of the puzzle

There is a revolution happening in the west - and Perth Glory's prospects are looking brighter than ever since snaring master coach Tony Popovic.

The successful NSL club has qualified for the A-League finals only six times in 13 seasons, with a solitary grand final appearance in in 2011-12 their greatest achievement since the new league was formed.

But with Popovic and former Sydney FC CEO Tony Pignata, the Glory have put together a formidable squad that should challenge for silverware - if everything comes together.

Goal examines Perth's prospects in a season that would be exciting their fans like no other in A-League history.

The Tony Popovic factor

Tony Popovic Adelaide United v Western Sydney Wanderers A-League 01052016

The acquisition of Popovic to coach the club for the next three seasons is the biggest coup in Perth Glory's A-League history - and a complete game changer.

With Perth's isolation from the rest of the Australia, and the travel factor for players every second week, it has been difficult for the club to put together a squad capable of challenging for honours.

But the signing of Popovic is a sign the club means business, and it has helped them to retain gun players such as Diego Castro and Andy Keogh - while the only star lost of note is Adam Taggart.

The first task of any Glory manager is plug a perennially leaky defence - which has conceded 50-plus goals in the last two campaigns - and Popovic has as good a chance as anyone to fix that issue with his team notoriously defensively disciplined.

With a swag of new signings to complement the squad, it will be fascinating to see if  Popovic can mould his list of players into championship contenders.

The strongest squad depth in the A-League

Diego Castro Perth Glory

Without a doubt, Popovic's pull has helped Glory assemble the deepest squad in the league - an important factor when you consider the extra travel they have to do each season.

Across every line, Perth's team is littered with experienced players who can do a job if need be - with the club bringing in an extraordinary nine new players.

Casting a glance across their attack, while Keogh and Castro will figure prominently, Popovic can also call on Socceroo winger Chris Ikonomidis, exciting talent Jacob Italiano, solid A-League players in Chris Harold and Joel Chianese - with Brendon Santalab also joining the club in a likely super sub role.

In midfield, Neil Kilkenny, who impressed after joining the Glory mid-way through last season, and new signing Juande should hold down the midfield roles - with Jake Brimmer and a plethora of central defenders able to fill in if need be.

The defence is clearly where Glory's issues have been over the past few campaigns and Popovic has aimed to fix it with a new formation and acquiring a stack of defenders with good pedigree.

The 2014 World Cup defence (well almost...)

Matthew Spiranovic Australia

Perth Glory now have three members of the Australian 2014 World Cup back four after the signings of Matthew Spiranovic, Ivan Franjic and Jason Davidson.

They have also brought in Tomislav Mrcela to play a centre-half role, while still having Scott Neville, Shane Lowry, Alex Grant and Dino Djulbic on the books.

With five players that can play in central defence, Popovic has been trialling back three formation that would aim to make the team hard to break down.

The only concern is that Spiranovic and Davidson haven't played week in, week out for a long time and may take time to get up to the speed of the A-League.

One thing is for certain - you can't see the men in purple shipping 50-plus goals this season.

Article continues below

Predicted finish: 2nd

Star player: Diego Castro

Breakout player: Jacob Italiano

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