Tony Popovic concedes Alessandro Del Piero's likely absence would be a massive blow for Sydney FC but believes recent form is irrelevant ahead of Saturday's derby.
Western Sydney Wanderers coach Tony Popovic concedes Alessandro Del Piero's likely absence would be a massive blow for Sydney FC but believes recent form is irrelevant ahead of Saturday's derby clash.
The Sky Blues were on the wrong end of a 4-0 belting from Brisbane Roar last weekend, with all four goals coming after their Italian star left the field with a calf injury on the half-hour.
Del Piero hasn't yet been ruled out but is highly doubtful to play in the fourth meeting between the two Sydney clubs.
"I'm sure they'll work something out on how to cover his loss if that's to be but he's a special player and going back to the derbies last year, he scored in two of those," Popovic said.
"He's a great player, it's a shame for the fans in such a big game that a top player like him may not be able to be there but I'm sure if he's not there it will still be a great game."
Both sides shared the spoils in three matches last season with one win each and a draw.
The Wanderers were 2-0 winners in the only meeting at Allianz Stadium, but Popovic isn't interested in form of history.
"What I've learned as a first time coach is that those games are very unpredictable," he said.
"Form goes out the window and derbies are special games on the field and off the field for the fans.
"We had a great result there last year and we played a great game of football and we'd love to do that again."
The coach is confident key midfielder Aaron Mooy is on track to play despite copping a nasty head-knock in a clash with Wellington's Manny Muscat in Sunday's 1-1 draw.
"Yeah he's good which is a great sign, he's had all his assessments that he's had to do and everything's encouraging and he's in a good place," he said.
"At the moment my understanding is yes, (he will play). The medical staff will make the final call on that but it's positive."
Meanwhile, Popovic was again forced to deflect questions about the vacant Socceroos coaching job.
He insists he has received no further contact with Football Federation Australia and remains fully committed to the Wanderers.
The 40-year-old is one of three remaining candidates for the national post alongside Melbourne Victory coach and front-runner Ange Postecoglou and Central Coast Mariners boss Graham Arnold.