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Chelsea star Mason Mount was right all along about Kai Havertz transfer

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Tony Popovic axed by Greek club Xanthi

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Former Perth Glory and Western Sydney Wanderers coach Tony Popovic has been sacked by Greek second division club just nine matches into his tenure.

Despite Xanthi’s 2-1 weekend win over cellar dwellers OF Ierapetra, which left them in fifth spot on the ladder, Popovic was given his marching orders.

Xanthi owner, Greek-Australian businessman Bill Papas, said: “I want to thank Tony for the excellent work he has offered to the team since September 2020 when he took office.

“With great sadness and respect for Tony, we announce the end of our partnership.

“I wish Tony and his family all the best for the future.”

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Popovic’s axing comes three weeks after the club’s goalkeeper coach, former Socceroos gloveman Zeljko Kalac, parted ways with Xanthi.

Xanthi’s squad includes Popovic’s sons Kristian and Gabriel, former Sydney FC and Melbourne City midfielder Josh Brillante, ex-Adelaide United goalkeeper Paul Izzo, former Western Sydney defender Matt Jurman and New Zealand under 20 international Callan Elliot.

It’s the second time Popovic has been sacked by a European club after being shown the door by Turkish outfit Karabükspor in 2017 after just nine games at the helm.

Popovic’s latest sacking comes less than three months after another Australian coach, Kevin Muscat, was axed by Belgian club Sint-Truiden after only 14 games in charge.

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Sydney FC’s Alex Wilkinson to make 300th appearance

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Sydney FC captain Alex Wilkinson could easily have been making his 300th A-League appearance with – rather than against – Melbourne City.

The 36-year-old former Socceroos defender’s memorable career reaches another milestone at AAMI Park on Tuesday night when he chalks up a triple century of A-League matches.

His opponents will be Melbourne City, who offered him the chance to again play in Australia in 2016 after his contract expired with Korean club Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors.

Watch every match of the 2020/21 A-League Season LIVE & On-Demand with Fox Sports on Kayo. New to Kayo? Get your 14-day free trial & start streaming instantly >

“I wasn’t sure what was going to happen afterwards when I headed overseas (in 2012) but I always thought that at some stage I’d come back,” Wilkinson said.

“The Korean season finished in November-December, and a lot of the A-League squads were full so I was really grateful that Melbourne City gave me the opportunity to go down there and play.

“It was by no means a short-term fix. I was really open to the possibility of staying down there for the following season.”

But when Sydney FC showed interest in signing Wilkinson for the 2016-17 campaign and beyond, the chance for the former Central Coast Mariners skipper to return home to New South Wales was too good to refuse.

“It worked out really well when I did come back to Australia. My wife was pregnant with our second child and the timing to come back to Sydney worked out perfectly,” he said.

“It ticked all the boxes off the pitch and also on the pitch as well … but I had a fantastic time in Melbourne and I’ve only got good things to say about Melbourne City.

“It’s funny how it works out that my 300th is against a team I played for, and it’s nice in a way, but once you’re on the pitch, you’re not thinking about it too much, you’re just out there to win the game. It doesn’t matter who it’s against.”

Even if it was against the Mariners, despite his ongoing admiration for the Gosford-based club with whom he made 172 A-League appearances.

“I’ve got so many positive things to say about that club,” Wilkinson said.

“To see them go through some hard times is never good, but it looks like they’ve definitely turned the corner this year.

“It’s good to see them doing so well – just hopefully not against us again.”

The Mariners beat Sydney 2-0 last month. It has been the Sky Blues only loss this season.

“We’re tracking along OK I think. We’ve still got room for improvement but so you should at this time of the season,” three-time A-League championship-winner Wilkinson said.

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Man Utd boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer takes Gary Neville advice as transfer wishlist 'leaked'

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Manchester United are set for another busy summer in the transfer market, as they look to close the gap on rivals Man City

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