Rangers target clean sweep, medal in derby

Launceston businessman John McKenna with soccer players Ryan McCarragher, of Northern Rangers, and Launceston City's Isaac Degetto and Daniel Egan with the  Challenge Cup.

Launceston businessman John McKenna with soccer players Ryan McCarragher, of Northern Rangers, and Launceston City's Isaac Degetto and Daniel Egan with the Challenge Cup.

PLAYERS from Northern Rangers and Launceston City will tonightntsFridaynte vie for the inaugural John McKenna Medal for best player over the three local derbies.

The medal recognises the significant contributions Launceston businessman John McKenna has made to soccer in his adopted state.

Rangers have already secured this year's derby, winning the first two games 4-1 and 3-0, and are looking to make it a clean sweep against their Launceston rivals.

Coach Tim Lunnon said the derbies at Mitsubishi Park were always tough games.

``We expect City to start fast and hard,'' he said. ``They have some good players in Nathan Bartlett, Toby Omenihu and Dom Rossi, so it is important we start well and on the front foot.'' 

Ryan McCarragher and Nick Lanau-Atkinson are both back to strengthen the side. City will be without Toby Omenihu and Andy Compagne due to injury, while Aaron Mattarozzi returns.

 Coach Kurt Reynolds said improving the team's width and depth of space, along with the players' ability to transition quickly, was a key. 

``We enter the third round of the Victory League season with strong aspirations to improve our position on the ladder,'' he said.

Tomorrow's ntsSaturdayntedouble header at KGV features South Hobart taking on Glenorchy Knights and Devonport City facing Hobart Zebras.

Devonport, which had a 8-1 win last week and sits in fifth place, can shape the final four and possibly keep its finals hopes alive with a win against the in-form Zebras.

However, coach Nick Owen said Zebras were an entirely different proposition than 10-man Kingborough. 

``The key for us will be to find a way through a tough Zebras defence and hold their strikers to minimal chances,'' he said.

The Strikers are without Michael Holden, suspended after picking up his fifth yellow, and might also miss Jake Gleeson, who suffered a badly corked thigh last week. 

Zac Mitchell returns to the squad and Joel Stone is likely to start in place of Gleeson.

Zebras coach Jed Donoghue said his side must continue to play good football to put pressure on the ladder leader.

Ladder leader South Hobart plays the opening game at KGV against Glenorchy Knights while third-placed Olympia hosts Kingborough Lions tomorrow night.

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