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Popovic: Break has done us good

11 April 2013 16:30

Western Sydney coach Tony Popovic says his squad is refreshed after a week off and ready to begin their A-League finals campaign.

Friday night's sudden-death semi-final with Brisbane will be the Wanderers' first game since they secured the Premiers' Plate by beating Newcastle two weeks ago.

In contrast the Roar had to come through a bruising encounter with Adelaide last weekend to get a crack at a third straight grand final berth.

While the Wanderers are on a 12-game unbeaten run, Brisbane coach Mike Mulvey believes the A-League new boys may have lost their momentum by having last weekend off.

But Popovic scoffed at suggestions his side will be underdone on Friday night and said the Wanderers would be primed to continue their fairytale debut campaign.

"You can look at it in many different ways but we've embraced the week off," a defiant Popovic told reporters on Thursday.

"After a long season, the reward was to have a week off and instead of looking at that as a negative we've taken it as a real positive."

"The players recovered well the first week and we picked up the intensity now and they are looking forward to it as they should.

"You're one game away from a grand final, playing at home in front of a packed house.

"It was great for us...its helped us get a few bodies back which has been a bonus and we'll be ready for the game."

In truth the Wanderers have needed every second of the break.

Key players Shinji Ono (hamstring), Aaron Mooy (knee) Jerome Polenz (quad) and Adam D'Apuzzo (foot) have all been under injury clouds but are strong chances to face the Roar.

Ono is a certain starter but Mooy, Polenz and D'Apuzzo will all need to recover well following Thursday's final training session to play.

"Everyone at the moment seems as though they will be available which is great news for us," Popovic said.

"They all trained the last two days and they all feel confident they'll be available which is positive for us.

"But we're not getting ahead of ourselves we want them to complete the training (on Thursday).

"If they get through that then it's great and we've got a big selection of players for tomorrow (night)."

The Wanderers have the wood over Brisbane, winning all three meetings this season, but skipper Michael Beauchamp denies it gives them an advantage on Friday night.

"It's finals football and everything changes now," the defender said.

"It's a one-off game and we definitely need to go out there and give it our all.

"We've worked hard to get to this match and now hopefully our run continues.

"The end prize is making it to the grand final so we can't be leaving anything on the pitch."

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A-League table

# Team MP D P
6 7 -3 6
7 7 -5 5
8 6 -3 3
9 7 -9 3
10 6 -6 2

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