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Popovic alert to City's Cahill factor

AAP logoAAP 20/09/2016 Emma Kemp

Tim Cahill may not start for Melbourne City in Wednesday night's FFA Cup quarter-final but Wanderers coach Tony Popovic remains just as concerned about how he'll finish.

City's new recruit will make his first home appearance for City at AAMI Park, where coach John van `t Schip will likely field a far more experienced XI to the second-string line-up put to the sword 4-0 by Newcastle on the weekend.

The Socceroos' all-time leading goalscorer would be a potent weapon off the bench as he was in Australia's recent World Cup qualifier against United Arab Emirates.

Either way, Popovic is well aware of what his former Socceroos teammate is capable of.

"With Timmy in the side they will always be stronger, whether he starts or comes off the bench," Popovic said.

"He's a quality player and he's proven that over the years.

"You can see he is still very determined to do well.

"We'll show him the respect he deserves, but we are going to this game first and foremost to win because we want to get to the semi-final."

A complete Wanderers squad enter the last eight's only all A-League clash on the back of a successful tour of Japan.

Popovic was encouraged by the early output of his new signings, including returned striker Kerem Bulut, Argentine midfielder Nicolas Martinez and Japanese midfielder Jumpei Kusukami.

Despite being cautious of using pre-season hit-outs as a guide for A-League form, he felt his 2015-16 grand finalists were in better shape for round one than last September.

"Last year at this stage we had eight players who weren't training who were injured," Popovic said.

"We didn't speak about that at that time, but that's what we were faced with.

"This year everyone is training - that is already an improvement.

"So we expect our fitness levels to be higher come round one and we hope that will help us with results early on."

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