The absence of Chad Applegate could work in Macleay Valley’s favour in their important Coastal Premier League clash with Coffs Coast Tigers on Saturday.
Applegate will miss the match through suspension after being red-carded in last weekend’s 2-0 loss to Port United.
Rangers have been up and down like a yoyo in the opening four rounds and have registered two wins and two losses.
While disappointed to be without his main man, Rangers coach Simon Tamblyn believes a change in the way they play could benefit his team in the long run.
“I think we probably over rely on Chad as an attacking outlet,” he said.
“So we really have to invent ourselves in more attacking plays instead of hit the ball to Chad and make him put the pressure on.
“In one way losing Chad is bad but we need to adapt a game that helps him when we do get him back.
“We have to develop a better strike force than we have at the moment.”
In Applegate’s absence, teenage central midfielders Noah Hoskins or Joe Kable are likely to share the role up front.
“He’s the captain as well so they’re big shoes to fill as a prime striker as well,” Tamblyn said.
“But Joe and Noah are both 17 and 18-year-old’s who have played games in first grade and have good skills so we just have to get them used to being up front.”
The Tigers go into the match with just one point from their opening three matches and the Rangers know a desperate opponent is always a cause for concern.
“Coffs will be desperate and they’ll see us as an opportunity to start getting points,” the Rangers gaffer admitted.
“They’ll know their season relies on a win at this early stage. They’ve got to get out of that losing sequence.”
In other matches, Port United host Sawtell in Port Macquarie and Northern Storm host Port Saints.
Coffs City United host Boambee in another match that sees first take on third while Kempsey Saints will head to Omaru Park in Taree for a clash against the Wildcats.