Slump is a dirty word at Wanderers

They may be enduring their worst ever run of form but don’t try telling Western Sydney goal-keeper Ante Covic the Wanderers are in a form slump.

They may be enduring their worst ever run of form but don’t try telling Western Sydney goal-keeper Ante Covic the Wanderers are in a form slump.

Sure they have lost three of their last four games and no one’s happy about it but the veteran gloveman isn’t forecasting doom and gloom for the rest of the season.

A congested schedule and an increasing injury toll haven’t helped the cause of Tony Popovic’s side.

Despite their lean patch, the Wanderers remain in second spot on the A-League ladder and believe they are well-placed for an assault on the championship over the next three months.

Just don’t mention the ‘S-word’. 

‘Some people outside the club come have up with that (slump) but we’ve been a successful team up until now,’ Covic said on Wednesday.

‘That seems to be the buzzword word, form slump, after two (losses). A form slump is (like Melbourne Heart) 19 games.

‘We had two tough away trips very close to each other. It’s two losses on the trot, no one’s happy about it but heads aren’t down.

‘We’re just looking forward so for us there’s no question that it’s a form slump. It’s just about working hard and getting back on track.’

The Wanderers host the resurgent Perth Glory on Australia Day, with the visitors surging into the top six over the last few weeks since new boss Kenny Lowe has come in.

Popovic was hopeful the likes of Jerome Polenz and Mateo Poljak would shrug off injury problems to return at Pirtek Stadium.

Meanwhile, Popovic insists he has no regrets despite Shinji Ono’s admission he would have stayed at the Wanderers if the club had offered him a new deal.

The veteran midfielder announced last week he would head back to Japan once his current deal expires at the end of the season.

But Ono revealed he would have preferred to remain in the A-League, had the Wanderers come through earlier with a new contract.

‘No I wouldn’t say there’s regret,’ Popovic said.

‘We’ve had discussions, and they’re private discussions that I’ve had with Shin. The detail of that will remain between me and Shinji but we’re all pleased that he’s still here until the end of the season.

‘At such an early stage as this is. Last year we came to terms around March time for him to stay longer.

‘But we’re delighted for him, he’s decided to go home. He wants to win something, he’s a very determined man and we’re happy to have him.’

Covic added: ‘When we’re preparing for next season I’m sure we’ll come to terms with that,’ he said.

‘But I’m sure Poppa is not one that’s going to be sitting there crying his eyes out that we’ve lost Shinji.

‘We’re not focused on next season, we’ve got Shinji right now and that’s what we’re concerned about.’

Ono’s departure has placed greater focus on the futures of fellow off-contract stars Youssouf Hersi and Aaron Mooy, who are being targeted by clubs both local and abroad.

Popovic said of the pair: ‘That speculation is what you expect in this competition, all clubs have it.

‘If players aren’t signed at this stage they have a right to speak to other clubs and clubs have a right to speak to the players.

‘But we’ve got a process in place in how we deal with our players internally and we’re happy with how that process is going.

‘The discussions are ongoing. Both parties are happy with where it’s at…the layers are happy playing for this club, that’s the main thing. We’ll sort out the future for the club and the player in due time.’