Popovic: Potential Sydney derby won't distract Wanderers

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Premiers Sydney FC await Western Sydney if they can reach the semi-finals but the Red-and-Black know they must remain focused on this week's task

Western Sydney Wanderers know a blockbuster clash against archrivals Sydney FC is potentially 90 minutes away but their focus is solely only on this week's elimination final versus Brisbane Roar.

The Wanderers will maintain their streak of playing Brisbane in every A-League finals series they have been involved in when they visit Suncorp Stadium on Friday night.

Having finished sixth, Western Sydney know they will play premiers Sydney if they can advance to the semi-finals.

The Wanderers are the only side to have beaten Sydney in the A-League this season.

It's a tantalising prospect for Tony Popovic's side but the Wanderers' boss insists his squad won't get carried away thinking about the Sky Blues.

Santalab always focused on the next goal

"It's always in the back of your mind - what could happen if you win and who you might play," Popovic told reporters on Thursday.  

Sydney FC v Newcastle Jets A-League 15042017

Sydney FC

"We'd be lying if we didn't say that. 

"Brisbane will be looking at it in the same way – if they win the match, they go to Melbourne [to play Victory].

Western Sydney Wanderers 1 Sydney FC 0

"But ultimately it comes down to tomorrow.

"The season is on the line and if you lose, you don't get that opportunity.

"If our minds drift tomorrow, that would be a mistake."

'Big-game players' to inspire Roar

When assessing Roar's attacking threats, Jamie Maclaren and Brett Holman inevitably enter the discussion.

Holman scored twice last week in a 4-3 win over Wellington Phoenix to make it four goals in three games in all competitions, while Maclaren notched his 19th goal of the season to share the A-League Golden Boot with Melbourne Victory striker Besart Berisha.

Jamie Maclaren Melbourne City v Brisbane Roar A-League 11022017

Jamie Maclaren, Brisbane Roar

But 'Popa' said the Brisbane duo haven't been the sole focus during the Wanderers' analysis this week.

"[They're] two very good players who are doing very well at this moment," he said. 

"But they're a very good team all round. They have a very good balance. 

Antonis wants to 'go places' with Wanderers

"Those two players are excelling at the moment and I'm sure they'll try and continue that but it would be a mistake from us to just focus on those two players.

"If we do that, we'll come out of the game not getting the result we want."

The Wanderers are unbeaten in six A-League matches and haven't lost their past three away fixtures in all competitions. 

Popovic claimed that kind of form has ensured the Red-and-Black are "calm" and "composed" ahead of their trip north.

 

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