Friday, July 31, 2009

Northern Rangers and Devonport City should stay neck-and-neck at top in Northern Premier League

Northern Rangers should have few problems in staying top of the Forestry Tasmania Northern Premier League on Saturday because they are away to bottom-side Launceston United at Birch Avenue and a win is almost guaranteed.

"It's first versus last and, with that in mind, I expect our players to put in a concerted effort, with a lot of pride,” said Launceston United coach, Brian Dracup.

“Over the last few games, we have improved and basically have been running with the same squad, which has improved the players’ ability to perform as a team.

“My expectation is for a close competitive game with home ground advantage coming into play, coupled with the heavy ground conditions.”

Rangers will miss defenders Sam Luck, who is injured, and Brad Langerak, who is unavailable because of work commitments.

“These positions will be covered by the young boys who have shown so much improvement over the season,” said Rangers coach, Roslan Saad.

“I believe they should be able to achieve our aim of not conceding any goals this week after the three goals conceded last week.

“I told the boys that three points is what we want and the points are going to win us the championship and not the goal-difference.

“At this stage of the season, we have 29 points and that is our best finish ever last year.

“So, I believe the team will create a new chapter on Saturday with the 3 points.”

Second-placed Devonport City, who are a point behind Rangers, should win against the visiting Launceston City, who are second-last on the ladder.

The only change to the Devonport side that beat Somerset in their previous outing is the inclusion of striker Christ McKenna, the second-ranked marksman in the league.

McKenna has had hamstring problems but is fit and ready to resume.

Nathan Gratton and Ben Pizzirani have been impressive in recent weeks and Devonport coach Tom McGinn will be looking for another good performance from this pair.

“With just four roster games left, it’s important that we don’t slip up against Launceston City,” McGinn said.

Third-placed Somerset and fourth-ranked Prospect Knights are locked together on 25 points and they meet at the latter’s Harley Parade headquarters on Saturday in what should be a close game.

“We are looking to be successful against another quality top-four side,” said Knights coach, Dane Hudson.

“Our preparation has been interrupted due to ground closures, but we trained on our ground for the first time in three weeks on Thursday night.

“There are no excuses, though, and we need, as always, to apply ourselves and work hard with or without the ball.

“Somerset are coming off a State-wide Cup defeat against Northern Rangers, so I’m sure they’ll be determined to get back to the level they know they can play.

“Hopefully, though, that’ll be next week and not this time out.”

Sixth-placed Riverside Olympic hosts seventh-ranked Burnie United at Windsor Park on Saturday.

Four points separate the sides and Burnie will be keen to reduce that to a single point with an away win.

But, Burnie will be without captain Ashley Smith, who was sent off last weekend and is suspended.

Sam Phillip-Croule has a back injury and will miss the game, but this makes way for promising 18-year-old midfielder Aiden Withers to make his mark.

This will be Riverside’s last home game of the season and they will be at full strength with the return after three weeks’ absence of Ryan McCarragher, who has been suffering from the effects of concussion.

“We will be going all out to win this game and to try and keep our final-four chances alive and we’ll be hoping for some favourable results in the other games,” said Riverside coach, Troy Scott.

Fifth-placed Ulverstone have the bye.

1 comment:

Sit Ouboo Sit said...

thanks for the reports walter.your efforts are appreciated by us that are north of the border.