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We trust Poppa: Wanderers' Topor-Stanley

NZN 4/10/2016 Matt Encarnacion

Western Sydney skipper Nikolai Topor-Stanley has backed coach Tony Popovic to lead the club to a repeat A-League grand final this season despite another overhaul of their playing roster.

Almost half of the line-up who fell to Adelaide in last season's grand final have left Blacktown, giving the club an entirely new feel heading into the summer.

It is the second time in as many years the former Asian Champions League winners have undergone a major surgery on their playing squad.

But Topor-Stanley, who will miss Saturday's season-opening derby against Sydney FC through suspension, says last year's success is proof Popovic can rebuild on the run.

"There's a lot of changes but it's something we've learnt to accept," Topor-Stanley told AAP at Tuesday's season launch in Sydney.

"Everyone that has come in has accepted the philosophy of the coach and training methods.

"Aside from the last FFA Cup game, we've won every game. We were in good form and we are still in good form. We've only got one injury in the squad and everyone else is available.

"We're here to follow his lead and he's always going to be the one to set the tone and standards. That's why we've made three grand finals in a short amount of time."

Topor-Stanley copped an automatic one-game ban for his dismissal in their FFA Cup loss to Melbourne City but was still looking forward to what was likely to be a record-breaking crowd.

More than 60,000 are expected to descend on ANZ Stadium on Saturday night, when the Wanderers' marquee man Nicolas Martinez will line up against Sky Blue rival Bobo.

Topor-Stanley is expected to slot straight back into the line-up in the grand final rematch against Adelaide away from home the following week.

"It's pretty terrible timing. But you accept it ..." he said of his ban.

"Hindsight's a great thing but things happen at the blink of an eye. You accept it and move on. I'll be there supporting the boys. It should be a great moment for club football in Australia."

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