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Wanderers confident of Sydney derby upset

AAP logoAAP 13/01/2017 Adrian Warren

Western Sydney Wanderers coach Tony Popovic has laughed off counterpart Graham Arnold's bold boast that Sydney FC goalkeeper Danny Vukovic won't need to make a save in Saturday's A-League derby.

Popovic insisted on Friday he and his battling team were confident of toppling unbeaten ladder leaders Sydney FC in front of a sell-out crowd at Allianz Stadium to secure their first derby victory in nine games.

Arnold lit the fuse for another fierce clash with cross-town rivals Wanderers when he bragged about his Sky Blues' defence that has conceded just seven goals this season and said he didn't expect Vukovic to see any action.

That's despite having to fill a hole in his central defence following the departure of Matt Jurman and injury to replacement Seb Ryall.

Languishing in seventh place, the Wanderers have struggled to convert chances and have 17 goals, just half the tally of Sydney FC, who beat them 4-0 in the first derby clash of the season.

"We are very confident, we go into the game full of belief and I believe we will show that tomorrow night," said Popovic.

Responding to Arnold's jibe, Popovic said: "I hope he is right because if he (Vukovic) doesn't make a save that means he's pulling the ball out of the net."

Wanderers vice-captain Mitch Nichols had a ready answer as well.

"Arnie likes to talk, we all know that," said attacking midfielder Nichols.

"I think Vuka (Vukovic) was man of the match in the (previous) derby, if I remember right.

"It is about us creating and talking those chances when we get them so I am pretty sure he is going to needs his gloves tomorrow night."

Determined to extend their league record 14-match unbeaten start to the season, Sydney won't hear of losing to a side 17 points below them on the ladder.

"We haven't lost to them in three years and definitely aim to keep that going," Sydney captain Alex Brosque said.

Arnold is contemplating blooding one of two young defenders, Patrick Flottman or George Timotheou and Nichols stressed any debutant could expect to face a torrid test.

"I'm sure if we've got plenty of the ball we'll put him under a lot of pressure and make him work, because it's a big game for someone' to step into if it is your debut," Nicholls said.

Nichols insisted the Wanderers only needed to address some little things to end their streak of five matches without a win.

"We have been giving silly goals away and getting red cards for probably no reason," he said.

"It is about being disciplined and staying in the game longer because our football has been good, but just at big moments we are letting ourselves down."

Popovic wouldn't reveal whether he would again field a side without a specialist striker, with his side struggling for goals in the absence of suspended leading scorer Brendon Santalab.

He hasn't asked former Sydney goalkeeper Vedan Janjetovic for any information about his old club and said other recent recruit and ex-Sydney player Terry Antonis was a chance of getting his first start Saturday.

The game is an Allianz Stadium sell-out for the sixth Sydney derby clash in a row at the venue.

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