Fornaroli familiar ALM foe for Popovic

Melbourne Victory coach Tony Popovic knows exactly the threat striker Bruno Fornaroli poses.
Melbourne Victory coach Tony Popovic knows exactly the threat striker Bruno Fornaroli poses.

Tony Popovic knows all too well the threat Perth Glory striker Bruno Fornaroli poses to his Melbourne Victory side.

As coach of Perth two years ago, Popovic recruited Fornaroli to lead an unprecedented period of A-League Men success for Glory.

Now Popovic has to find a way to blunt the Uruguayan attacker at AAMI Park on Sunday if ladder-leaders Victory are to extend their unbeaten start under their new boss.

One of the most prolific strikers in ALM history, Fornaroli netted Perth's only goal of the opening two rounds this season with a stunning long-range strike in the opening week.

He looms as Glory's main attacking weapon after high-profile import Daniel Sturridge was again ruled out.

"He's a player of genuine quality and that's why we brought him to Perth in the first place when I was there," Popovic said.

"He's a winner, he always wants to win, and he's shown that in his career so far.

"You have a look at the goal he scored in the first round and he had a couple of chances again last weekend.

"Whether the team is in a good moment or not so good, we know he's always dangerous.

"That's what makes him so special."

Vice-captain Roderick Miranda is a chance to return from injury at centre-back for Victory alongside Brendan Hamill, who was partnered by versatile veteran Leigh Broxham in last week's 3-0 thumping of Brisbane.

A former hard-nosed centre-back, Popovic said his defenders could expect a physical battle with Fornaroli.

"That's the challenge that you want - as a footballer you want to come up against quality players and test yourself," he said.

"Bruno will give us a good test, as I'd expect from a player of his quality.

"It will be a good battle and one that our defenders are looking forward to."

Popovic's recruiting drive since taking over at Victory in the off-season has netted a host of players he has previously coached.

Ex-Glory players Nick D'Agostino, Jake Brimmer, Jason Geria and Jason Davidson are all in line to start for the home side at AAMI Park on Sunday, but Perth coach Richard Garcia doesn't see the familiarity favouring either side.

"They know us as well as we know them," Garcia said.

"I don't think it gives you an advantage.

"For the players it maybe has a bit of a mental advantage as far as what to expect from those players.

"It's still going to be a very tough game."

Former Liverpool and England star Sturridge was a huge off-season signing for Perth - and the competition - but is now set to miss several more matches while he works towards match fitness.

Glory are also without goalkeeper Brad Jones (calf) and captain Brandon O'Neill, who has missed the club's road trip with his pregnant wife expected to give birth soon.

Australian Associated Press