Soccer: Red Devils ready to face Northcote City

A SOLID week of training has Ballarat Red Devils primed for its biggest National Premier Leagues test yet.

The McDonalds Reds will face off against 2013 Victorian Premier League champions Northcote City in a blockbuster at the John Cain Memorial Park on Saturday.

Now almost three rounds into a seven-straight streak of away games, Red Devils coach James Robinson says his side has been training well and will rise to the considerable challenge that awaits it.

"It's been a really good week, the boys have prepared really well," Robinson said.

"Playing away from home provides a lot of challenges in itself but we don't mind these situations."

The two teams enter the match at opposite ends of the form scale, with Ballarat fresh from its ground breaking victory over Goulburn Valley while Northcote is still reeling from consecutive, albeit tight, losses to Melbourne Knights and Bentleigh Greens.

Ballarat currently sits seventh on the NPL Victoria ladder after playing just one match while Northcote is languishing in 12th spot.

The Red Devils will be hard pressed to stop Northcote's impressive spread, which has yielded five different goal kickers already this year.

Local boys Dom Swinton and Michael Trigger impressed last week and will do so again, but look for some of Ballarat's top end recruits such as Steven Thomson to start delivering in the big moments.

Robinson is preparing for a tough selection process after conceding that the players not included in last week's victory, including gun recruit Dane Milovanovic, had "done themselves no harm" on the training track this week.

"Dane's been good (on the track), but he needs match practice," he said.

"Every single one of our players has a role within our structure and every one of them makes a difference.

"The boys who do well for me will get rewarded and we've done our due diligence on Northcote."

DETAILS

Northcote City v Ballarat Red Devils

at John Cain Memorial Park, Saturday, 3pm

EXPECTED SENIOR LINE-UP: 1 Aaron Romein, 16 Charlie King, 25 Steven Thomson, 18 Daniel O'Donnell, 3 Daniel Tinker, 6 Liam Harding, 17 Shaun Romein, 15 Dom Swinton, 22 Pat Karras, 31 Simon Murphy, 1. Bolish Salvatore. Subs: 13 Michael Trigger, 4 Dane Milovanovic

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