Wanderers in the dark over Poppa's replacement

THE AGE 18/11/09   THE AGE   SPORT  Melbourne Heart press conference at Crown Promenade this afternoon.  Pictured is Ante Milicic.  Pic by Rebecca Hallas SPECIAL 00000000
THE AGE 18/11/09 THE AGE SPORT Melbourne Heart press conference at Crown Promenade this afternoon. Pictured is Ante Milicic. Pic by Rebecca Hallas SPECIAL 00000000

It could take weeks before Western Sydney Wanderers identify a replacement for Tony Popovic, who unexpectedly announced his departure to coach Karabukspor in Turkey on Sunday.

Western Sydney Wanderers chief executive John Tsatsimas says the club has already been inundated with applications for the now vacant coaching position. However, the Wanderers are yet to turn their attention towards appointing a replacement for Popovic.

Chairman Paul Lederer is understood to be away and the club is confident assistants Hayden Foxe and Andres Carrasco can oversee the team in the next fortnight, while technical director Ian Crook is a strong chance of being made the interim coach.

The Wanderers did not have a clear succession plan for their coaches in place and were understandably taken aback by the timing of Popovic's shock departure. Popovic had another season to run on his contract and no decision on whether he would continue beyond May 2018 had been indicated prior to his move to Turkey.

Former assistant coach and current Socceroos' assistant, Ante Milicic, has already been linked with the vacant post at their Blacktown training ground. Milicic his highly regarded by players and the club, and would present them with a seemingly smooth transition from Popovic.

Current assistants Carrasco and Foxe will have a chance to stake their claims for the top job, unless they follow Popovic to Turkey.

Former Adelaide United and Young Socceroos' coach Josep Gombau is another name linked with the position. His Spanish style of football would fit well with some of the club's players and Gombau has a strong understanding of Australian football.

An option from left of field is Iran coach Carlos Quieroz, who is set to leave his position with Team Melli after the World Cup and has already been linked with coaching positions in Australia. It's understood Quieroz is attracted to the lifestyle, stability in Australia and is eager to explore opportunities here and in other English-speaking countries.

However, it's unlikely the former Real Madrid coach will return to club coaching with his preference understood to be with national teams.

Poppa's achievements with Western Sydney Wanderers

- Appointed inaugural Western Sydney Wanderers coach in 2012.

- One A-League premiership, 2012-13

- Three A-League grand final appearances, 2012-13, 2013-14 and 2015-16.

- Twice runners-up in the A-League regular season, 2013-14 and 2015-16.

- Asian Champions League winners, 2014.

- FIFA Club World Cup, sixth place finish, 2014.

- A-League coach of the year, 2012-13.

- PFA coach of the year, 2012-13.

- Asian coach of the year, 2014.

This story Wanderers in the dark over Poppa's replacement first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.