Wanderers urge fans to support Popovic

Western Sydney's boss is under more pressure than he's ever previously experienced at Wanderland with many supporters questioning his future

Ahead of Saturday night's Sydney derby, Jaushua Sotirio has urged Western Sydney Wanderers fans to back embattled coach Tony Popovic.

The Wanderers - who finished runners-up last season - have endured a frustrating campaign, currently sitting outside the top six with just four wins.

Making matters worse is the fact their fiercest rivals Sydney FC have taken the A-League by storm to remain unbeaten and 11 points clear at the top of the table.

With questions surrounding his recruitment, Popovic has recently come under fire more than at any other period in his Wanderers coaching tenure, while there were reports over the weekend that the 43-year-old was the target of Shanghai Shenhua, which both he and the Chinese  Super League club denied.

But Sotirio says Popovic has the full backing of the players as they look to end their three-year derby drought against the Sky Blues at ANZ Stadium.

"The fans need to back him," Sotirio told reporters.

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"He's done a lot for the club. We won a [AFC] Champions League, we've been to [three A-League] grand finals. We just need to win one [grand final] now and I'm sure it can be this year.

"He's the most optimistic person, he always backs us and tells us we have a massive belief.

"We have a good philosophy, we just need to apply our patterns and hopefully get the win [against Sydney]."

Full-back Jack Clisby agreed: "We fully support the boss and everyone believes in his philosophy.

"The way this season's gone, we know we can push on into the finals and, you know, our target is to be in that grand final and there's no reason why we can't."

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But it looms as a tough ask for the Red-and-Black  considering it's been more than 1100 days since they last tasted derby success.

Western Sydney will be without skipper Dimas through suspension and are coming off a demoralising 2-0 loss to Central Coast Mariners on Sunday, which has left the Wanderers in seventh position in the table.

"The table doesn't reflect what we can do," Sotirio declared.

"The last game we played [versus Sydney] it was a draw and we had our chances. I'm sure we'll play a good game this week.

"They have weaknesses… we need to see what we can do to punish them.

"We're ready for the game. We need to win this and then we'll be ready moving forward for the rest of the season."