IN FIGHTING FORM: Rovers player-coach Bobby Bugden, who will be looking to lead his team to a win tonight against Goonellabah.
IN FIGHTING FORM: Rovers player-coach Bobby Bugden, who will be looking to lead his team to a win tonight against Goonellabah. Steve Mackney

Rovers looking for sixth straight win in Hornets clash

RICHMOND Rovers have the chance to make up ground on runaway leader Byron Bay when they take on Goonellabah at Weston Park tonight in Far North Coast premier league soccer.

Rovers can narrow the gap to the Rams to just three points with a win over the Hornets, and in their current form the major premiers will start as favourites.

Tight defence has been the cornerstone of their success and with just three goals conceded in their six games, Rovers have the best defensive record in the league.

Despite having Russell Dent and Shane Smith missing, they have plenty of depth and after five straight wins coach Bobby Bugden is confident they can extend their run, but remains wary of the Hornets.

"We're on a bit of a roll but we were a bit scrappy in the 2-0 win over Bangalow on Saturday and will need to lift against Goonellabah, who have some dangerous players such as Batok Ring and Kurt Stephens," Bugden said.

Ring and Stephens will start up front and with the Hornets ranks boosted by new signing Matt Weir, an upset is possible.

Weir's surprise departure from Thistles is a major boost to the Hornets depth, with the nuggety midfielder also a set play and penalty specialist

Coach John Eakin will be without regular striker Dave Annetts but will still use an attacking formation, saying "Rovers tend to play flat at the back so we'll use three up front to try and catch them out" Eakin said.

With Goonellabah three points adrift of the top five the match also assumes enormous importance for their semi final hopes.

"We like the tag of underdogs, and some of Rovers results have flattered them a bit so we definitely see them as beatable," Eakin said.

Kick off is 8pm.



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