‘Back Popa’ urges Wanderers winger

Ahead of Saturday night’s blockbuster Sydney Derby, winger Jaushua Sotirio has urged Western Sydney Wanderers fans to back embattled coach Tony Popovic.

The Wanderers have endured a frustrating campaign, currently sitting outside the top six with just four wins all season.

Making matters worse is the fact their fiercest rivals have taken the Hyundai A-League by storm to remain unbeaten and 11 points clear at the top of the ladder.

But Sotirio says the manager has the full backing of the players as they look to end their three-year derby drought against the Sky Blues at ANZ Stadium.

“The fans need to back him,” Sotirio told reporters.

“He’s done a lot for the club. We won a [AFC] Champions League, we’ve been to grand finals. We just need to win one [grand final] now and I’m sure it can be this year.

“He’s the most optimistic person, he always backs us and tells us we have a massive belief,” the 21-year-old added.

“We have a good philosophy, we just need to apply our patterns and hopefully get the win [against Sydney FC].”

Jaushua Sotirio

But it looms as a tough ask for the Red and Black’s considering it’s been more than 1100 days since they last tasted derby success.

They’ll also be without skipper Dimas Delgado through suspension and are coming off a demoralising 2-0 loss to Central Coast Mariners on Sunday.

It’s a result that has seen the club drop out of the top six and in a fight to play finals this season.

“The table doesn’t reflect what we can do,” Sotirio declared.

“The last game we played [Sydney FC] it was a draw and we had our chances. I’m sure we’ll play a good game this week.

“They have weaknesses…we need to see what we can do to punish them,” he added.

“We’re ready for the game. We need to win this and then we’ll be ready moving forward for the rest of the season.”

Jumpei and Michael Zullo vie for the ball in the Round 1 Sydney Derby.

Wanderers defender Jack Clisby added: “Round 1 [the 4-0 loss] is in the past and the second time we squared up against them we put in good team performance, especially defensively.

“We really limited their chances and had our own chances to win the game. We feel like we’ve improved since then so maybe we can go one better and beat them this weekend.”