Launceston City’s Alex Smith in action.Friday’s match:
Tilford Zebras v Glenorchy Knights at KGV (8pm)
Devonport City v Kingborough Lions at (2pm)
Olympia v Northern Rangers at Warrior Park (4pm)
Launceston City v South Hobart at Mitsubishi Park at 2pm
LAST placed Launceston City will be hoping its week off will allow it to be competitive against ladder leaders South Hobart when the Victory League resumes for round seven.
City coach Dane Hudson said South will be relaxed and composed so his side must continue to work hard on the areas he believed would keep it in most games.
“We have two back from injury and suspension and lose two the same way so our depth continues to be a hurdle we are struggling to clear,” he said. “No excuses, this is the Victory League and it’s fantastic to be a part of it.”
Matty Lewis and Xavi are both ruled out for South with ankle injuries, joining long-term injured duoHugh Ludford and Mark Ambrose.
Coach Ken Morton said his side needed to take particular care as Launceston City had also had a break with the opportunity to train and get people back from injury.
“They will go into the game with great spirit and Northern grit and if we want to travel home with the three points we will have to match them and better them,” he said. “We will need to win the individual battles, play with a great spirit and determination.
“Everyone will have to work hard for each other. As a team we need to be stubborn defensively but play quickly in transition with good, speed, intensity and quality.”
Northern Rangers has a full 20-man squad to take on second place Olympia and will keep the same starting line-up from its 1-1 draw against Devonport City.
Agele Luate returns from injury and will be to the bench, while Aiden Rigby holds his spot up front. Ash Fisher and Adam McIntyre are also on the bench.
Rangers spokesman Brendan Lichtendonk said Olympia have have a great record at home on Warrior Park and expected a tight game.
“Warrior Park is a smaller pitch than what we are used to so we have manipulated training to mimic that this week and we believe we have prepared well for a tough match. The three games we had there in the summer cup will ensure everyone has at least played on this ground once before,” he said.
“All games are must win at this level, but this is another particularly important one, draws are starting to hurt us now, and we must learn to convert close games into three points.”
Olympia coach Glen McNeill said he hoped to continue the side’s good form at home and looked forward to a keenly fought match against Rangers, the first game between the two clubs.
Devonport City host Kingborough Lions at Montello in Burnie after taking the unusual step of offering each other coastal clubs to host one game each over the first three years to promote the league.
Coach Chris McKenna said while City would take a hit financially, the host club would get a financial benefit and hopefully a big crowd turns out.
Daniel McGinn will drop back to the Northern Premier League and replacement Brody Denehey will make his starting debut. Michael Holden has been cleared of a broken bone in his hand and will sit on the our bench.
“Kingborough, by all reports, were unlucky to lose to Tilford Zebras in their last game and have probably been a little bit inconsistent at times this season, much like ourselves,” McKenna said. “We need the three points to consolidate our position in the top four and are fully aware that the Lions will draw level with us on points if they are victorious.”
Lions coach Steve Adkins said the match was a chance to edge into the top four. “Devonport have gained some important points so far this season and we are looking forward to another tough encounter,” he said.
Andy Duncan will miss the next 10 weeks at least with a knee injury while Adam Hinkley return for an otherwise unchanged squad.
Tilford Zebras host Glenorchy Knights at KGV tomorrow nightntsFridaynte
Zebras has Henry Fagg on the long-term injury list and will replace him with Jordan Muller. Paul Palmer is yet to recover from an ankle injury, which means the side’s only change is Alex Leszczynski in for Jayden Welch.
Coach Tommy Fotak said Knights were well organised and play neat football out of defence and through their flanks.
“Chris Hey is a former coach of mine so there is a little of the master and the apprentice about this match,” he said. “Chris likes his team to play possession football and the Knights try to do that, as do we. They have conceded goals early in recent matches and we will be looking to take advantage of any early nerves.”
Knights assistant coach Matthew Rhodes said a five day turnaround would test his players’ fitness.
“Over the last few weeks we have being playing some good football and moving the ball around the park well,” he said. “ However, we have being letting ourselves down by not capitalising on all our hard work and have not been making the most of our scoring opportunities.”
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