Will Wanderers coach Rudan front the heat in Perth?

Justin Chadwick |

Under-fire coach Marko Rudan will hope his Wanderers can turn around poor recent ALM form in Perth.
Under-fire coach Marko Rudan will hope his Wanderers can turn around poor recent ALM form in Perth.

Western Sydney coach Marko Rudan has already proven his magician abilities with a post-match disappearing act, and he’ll be aiming to pull a rabbit from the hat when his team locks horns with Perth Glory on Saturday night.

Rudan was a no-show for the press conference following his side’s insipid 7-0 A-League Men loss to Melbourne City at AAMI Park on Tuesday night.

The Australian Professional Leagues are still investigating the absence, with a decision to be made in the coming days on whether Rudan will be sanctioned.

Rudan has stayed publicly silent since the defeat, and it remains to be seen whether he will front the post-match press conference in Perth.

The 48-year-old signed a three-year contract extension two months ago, but his side’s current woes and talk of player unrest have raised questions about whether Rudan will be able to survive as coach.

The Wanderers’ past three weeks have made for ugly reading – a 4-1 loss to Sydney FC, a 3-1 defeat to last-placed Western United, and a 7-0 thrashing at the hands of City.

A meek loss to the Glory could prove to be the final straw for Western Sydney’s hierarchy.

But with the Wanderers sitting just one point adrift of the top six, there’s still hope Rudan can turn things around in time to salvage the season and save his job.

He faces a big challenge to unite the change room, but Glory coach Alen Stajcic is expecting the visitors to come out firing.

“I’m even more wary when a team’s been hurt like that,” Stajcic said.

“They’re always willing to restore their pride and bounce back and fight even harder.

“I wish it was only a 1-0 (loss last week).

“They’ll be hurting. I’m always wary of teams on the rebound and having to prove themselves and play for restoring a little bit of pride.”

Glory also have plenty to play for after picking up just a single point from their matches against lowly Western United and Newcastle over the past fortnight.

The pair of disappointing results has left Perth eight points adrift of sixth spot with just seven rounds remaining.

Alen Stajcic.
Glory coach Alen Stajcic remonstrates during an ALM game in Perth. (Richard Wainwright/AAP PHOTOS)

A win against Western Sydney is a non negotiable if the Glory want to gatecrash the finals.

One major weapon up their sleeve is star striker Adam Taggart, whose 14 goals this season were enough for him to earn a Socceroos recall for upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Lebanon later this month.

Stajcic has no doubt the 30-year-old has the ability to thrive at the top level.

“He’s been there before, he’s got the pedigree, he’s got the quality,” Stajcic said.

“Hopefully when he gets that opportunity he grabs it with two hands and cements that starting spot.”

The Wanderers will be boosted by the return of skipper Marcelo from suspension, while Perth will be without injured defender Aleksandar Susnjar and ex-Wanderer Jarrod Carluccio, who is ineligible due to the terms of his loan deal.