Rangers prepared to take on Zebras

UNBEATEN Victory League leaders Northern Rangers face another tough away game to Tilford Zebras on Good Friday after knocking off reigning champions South Hobart away last week.

Coach Tim Lunnon said the 3-1 win against South was a great result for the club, but would not count for much unless it can back it up against Zebras.

``Playing Good Friday has meant a short week on the track and two trips to Hobart, so we have prepared appropriately,'' Lunnon said. ``Zebras will be another tough game in every way; they obviously had a great win against Olympia last week.

``We haven't seen much of them yet as we have not crossed paths but we are expecting them to be sharp and ready for the contest.

``We just have to keep playing good team football. We still have much to keep working on, so as a coach I am expecting us to keep improving, and we will need to against Zebras.''

Rangers has an essentially unchanged squad from last week with Dylan Headland, a late withdrawal last week due to sickness, in alongside Ash Fisher to add more depth to the squad, which will play two games in four days.

Zebras have signed young Swedish player Beqir Hoti, who coach Jed Donoghue said had a lot of skill, good pace and touch, and can pass the ball.

``Tim would have done his homework on us, he would have looked at our team, looked at our performances, our strengths and weaknesses so we will have to be on our game,'' Donoghue said.

``They have a very talented bunch of players, very compact at the back, we will show them a lot of respect.''

Striker Adam McKeown will return to the side after a week out but Matthew Ferguson will probably be out for another month.

Devonport City returned to the winner's list last week with a 7-3 victory against Launceston City and faces Glenorchy Knights, a side desperate for a win after three straight losses.

Devonport coach Nick Owen said it would be vital that his side hold its defensive shape, something it did not do last week.

``Hopefully now our forward line have a taste for goals and Knights will find it hard to contain them,'' Owen said.

Knights coach Chris Hey said last week's 4-2 loss to Kingborough Lions loss was extremely disappointing, conceding four goals in 16 minutes, three of which from set pieces.

``We did however have our own chances but like previous seasons, we are struggling to put the ball into the back of the net,'' he said.

``Can we get a result away at Devonport? Yes. Devonport have a tremendous fighting spirit for the full length of the game and they are relentless when moving forward, so it will be a very long day.''

Launceston City coach Kurt Reynolds said his side has been highly competitive in all three matches but has simply conceded too many goals.

``The match versus Devonport was a roller coaster of events, which saw us play two-thirds of the match with 10 players,'' he said. ``After going behind 3-0 in the first 20 minutes, I was proud of the lads' efforts to fight back, score three goals and almost pull off a point.''

Korean import Gukyeon Kim come into the squad as well as new goalkeeper Nick Abougelis to replace the suspended Jordy van der Corput.

``We expect a difficult encounter versus the Warriors away at Warrior Park this Saturday evening,'' Reynolds said. ``They are a strong outfit with talent right across the park ... have only conceded four goals and all reports indicate that they are strong in defence.''

Olympia coach Glen McNeill said City was an unknown for his side but they were scoring plenty of goals.

The home side will be missing Lachlan Nichols, Warren Wadawu, Jacob Herbert and Will Roberts and replacing them will be Gus Rumney, Harry Booth, Bruno Almeida and Brian Kabangu.

Reigning champions South Hobart will be looking to make amends for its first loss in 16 games when it plays Kingborough Lions.

South Hobart coach Ken Morton said playing with 10 men for 70 minutes against Rangers was not a bad effort. 

``Our opponent Kingborough Lions were very impressive against the Knights last weekend, down at Lightwood it will be a tough encounter,'' he said.

``For South to get a result we need a great commitment from every team player with everyone playing with a great spirit, working hard for their team mates.''

Hugh Ludford is out for 4-6 weeks with a muscle injury and Jackson Nugent comes into the squad for him. Caleb Ludlow is doubtful due to illness and Curran Ferns will miss due to suspension.

Lions coach Stephen Pitchford said South would be a more difficult opponent than usual having lost last weekend.

``Even if they are missing Ludford and Ferns they have plenty of talented players to fill those places  including  Ludlow, (Hugh) Undy, (Ben) Hamlett, (Colin) Wain and (Darcy) Hall,'' he said.

``We look to build upon our defensive effort last week and restrict our opponents scoring opportunities even further this weekend.''

Friday's game:

Tilford Zebras v Northern Rangers at KGV (3pm)

Saturday's games:

Kingborough Lions v South Hobart at Lightwood Park (2pm)

Devonport City v Glenorchy Knights at Valley Road (4pm)

Olympia FC Warriors v Launceston City at Warrior Park (6pm)

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