Brad Cox-Goodyer says Launceston is "definitely" a premiership threat, but isn't ready to hand over the mantle of the TSL's best midfield just yet.
The 2017 Alastair Lynch medallist and two-time Baldock medallist has roared into life after a slow start to the season, kicking 21 goals in his past five games to sit equal-top in the league with Lefroy medallist Aiden Grace.
After quashing mid-week rumours of a knee injury, Cox-Goodyer confirmed he would spend Friday night combating a Launceston on-ball brigade boasting bona-fide match-winners in Jobi Harper, Fletcher Seymour and Brodie Palfreyman.
"It's been very talked about their midfield strength - a lot of people consider them the best midfield in the state which is fine but they've got to be able to do it on gameday," the 26-year-old said.
"They've obviously got a pretty good group at the moment so it's going to be a good battle.
"Launceston are gelling - they've got a new coach and they've had a big list turnover, but come the back-end of the year when they've played a few games with each other and they've got the runs under their belt they're going to be a hard team to beat."
The Bombers made four changes for Friday's derby to compile what Cox-Goodyer heralded as the reigning premiers' strongest side of the year to date.
Launceston will be unable to make the same claim, with last month's win over North Hobart only adding to the injury list.
"There's a couple of guys with shoulders," Blues co-captain Jay Blackberry said.
"Palf's a little bit 50-50 at the moment, he'll possibly still play.
"Tyson Miller's got a cracked shoulder but hopefully with the next two weeks off he's probably going to be ok for the week after and Timmy Bristow ... he's going to be another five or six weeks but that's fine, it gives a few other guys some opportunities."
Blackberry is enjoying better fortune with his own health, and is feeling no ill effects three games into his return from an ACL injury.
"Maybe 12 months off has actually made me feel better - I actually pull up really well after games which has surprised me," Blackberry said.
"I was expecting to pull up really sore but I haven't ... I think I've been getting better each run. I'm definitely still pretty rusty, but a few of the other guys have been able to carry me a little bit."
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