Riverside keen to take on champions

THE top-of-the-table clash between Somerset and Riverside Olympic promises to be a cracker between the only unbeaten sides in the Northern Premier League.

Reigning premier Somerset has been in impressive form, registering five wins from five games, scoring 17 goals and only conceding two.

Second-placed Olympic has won four of its four games, averaging four goals a game thanks largely to English import Chris Wademan, who leads the league's goal-scoring list with eight.

Riverside coach Wayne Penfold said that after two byes in three weeks, his side was champing at the bit to take on the current champions at Windsor Park.

"It should be a cracking match with both teams undefeated at this stage of the season," Penfold said.

"As the champions, the Sharks would probably be the favourites for the match, but we think we match up well against them and will try and take the game up to them.

"Somerset have quality players across the park, but so do we, and we want to prove ourselves against the best teams in the competition."

Riverside's Matt Chapman will undertake a fitness test today, and suspended Taylor Neilson will watch from the sideline.

"We are expecting a big crowd to turn up, so hopefully the game will live up to the expectations of a top-of- the-table clash," Penfold said.

Third-placed Devonport City hosts a twilight match against fourth-placed Prospect Knights at Valley Road.

Devonport coach Malcolm Gorrie will have a smaller squad to choose from with injuries, illness and the Victory League match against Northern Rangers kicking off after the NPL game.

"Knights have had a couple of good results lately and will be confident of taking the win, but with the home game advantage and us coming off a 6-0 win against Launceston United and our youth pushing for senior selection, it will be a good match-up," Gorrie said.

"Ben Andrews, Mike Dayha and Daniel McGinn were outstanding for us last game, and we will look to them again this week."

Prospect Knights coach Ray Heald said his squad was stretched with three senior players missing through work commitments and with three still out injured.

"Liam Jarvis and Rhys Kinslow come back into seniors this week and Sam Copper is in for his first senior start," Heald said. "This gives an opportunity for the under-18 lads to fill some holes in reserves and seniors."

Northern Rangers travel to Montello, knowing a win would see them jump Burnie United on the ladder. Rangers coach Brendan Lichtendonk said Burnie seemed to be on the up this year and he always expected a physical game against the Emus.

"The two weeks off hasn't helped us, with injuries, suspensions and work commitments to the Victory League, leaving us thin on the ground again this week," he said.

"We just need to start finishing chances now. We are doing the rest of our things pretty well, so putting the ball in the back of the net more times than our opposition will be helpful."

Launceston United is also on the road, facing Ulverstone.

United coach Robert Murray said his side would be missing the suspended Saeed bin Sumaida and D'Zeffrey Bart, who is unavailable.

WEEKEND DRAW -

TODAY: Riverside Olympic v Somerset at Windsor Park (2.30pm); Devonport City v Prospect Knights at Valley Road (4.30pm); Burnie United v Northern Rangers at Montello (2.30pm); Ulverstone v Launceston United at Ulverstone showgrounds (2.30pm). Bye: Launceston City.

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