The Western Sydney Wanderers are playing a home game this Saturday night, February 9, which for once this season is not at their Parramatta Stadium fortress.
But coach Tony Popovic says playing at a full Campbelltown Stadium will still be be as good as playing at Parramatta.
‘‘This is a home game for us,’’ Popovic told a media conference this morning, as his players went through their paces at Campbelltown.
‘‘Campbelltown is part of the western suburbs, so this is home for us,’’ he said.
‘‘The players feel the same way about playing at Campbelltown; they are excited about the huge crowd they will be playing in front of, so, yes, it’s another home game for us.
‘‘Campbelltown is home’’.
The Wanderers confirmed that the match, which kicks off from 7.45, is a sellout, which is a huge effort considering their 6,500 members would have had to buy a ticket to the match.
Popovic also said he was pleased Italian import Iacopo La Rocca had put pen to paper for a two year contract.
‘‘We are very happy that our players have bought into what we want to do with this club. But this also gives us continuity for the seasons ahead,’’ the coach said.
La Rocca said for him it was an easy decision to make.
‘‘This is one of the best clubs in the league, so, yes, it was easy,’’ he told the media at Campbelltown.
‘‘This club, the players, we believe we can win every game.
‘‘And the fans, they are amazing, for 90 minutes. Sometimes I don’t understand what they say, but I still like it.’’
The versatile defender has featured regularly in the first-team squad under Wanderers coach Tony Popovic and is seen as a crucial player of the future.
Popovic said La Rocca brought a lot to the squad with his clever ball distribution, defending and versatility.
‘‘Iacopo is very good on the ball and his distribution is a real asset of his and we feel that he can help us move forward in the near term and the long term,’’ Popovic said.
‘‘He is a quality player and we feel that he will only get better and better.’’
The 28-year-old former Lazio junior is the eighth player to be resigned by the club this year along with Mateo Poljak, Shannon Cole, Adam D’Apuzzo, Ante Covic, Michael Beauchamp, Jerome Polenz and Youssouf Hersi.
He is the first player to secure a two-year extension.
‘‘[He’s] a very good age for a central midfield defensive player and he should be coming into his own physically and mentally [within the next] two years with us,’’ Popovic said.
Wanderers executive chairman Lyall Gorman also praised La Rocca saying he had been a major contributor to the club’s incredible defensive record this year.
‘‘His versatility as a holding midfielder is an invaluable asset,’’ Gorman said.
‘‘Iacopo gives us tremendous cover and his no-nonsense style of defence fits in perfectly with the way Tony [Popovic] wants his team to play at the back,’’ he said.