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Rhyl chief insists City are stronger than last season; Strong shocked by Citizens' struggles but Rhyl won't go easy on derby rivals.

Welsh Premier League RHYL v BANGOR CITY TODAY, 2.30PM KICK OFF By DAVE JONES RHYL manager Greg Strong believes today's opponents Bangor City are a stronger team this season than last, despite their struggles in recent months.

e 2013/14 campaign saw the Lilywhites and Citizens both end the Welsh Premier's rst phase in the top six, leading to a meeting of the pair in the Europa League playo nal which Bangor won 20. is term it has been a dierent story with both teams spending phase two in the bottom six.

Rhyl are currently eighth and pushing for the Europa playos, while City are secondbottom and battling to avoid relegation. Strong said of Bangor: "When you look at them now, as a team I think they are stronger than they were last season.

"You look at who they brought in during the summer, lads like Sam Hart, and then in January they brought in more good players.

"It's a surprise to see them where they are, but they've had some good results recently which will have perked up their condence so we'll need to be ready for that."

Strong added: "Every three points is a massive three points from now until the end of the season. ere is so much riding every game.

"On Saturday both teams need the win for difteams different reasons and we'll do everything in our power to make sure we get the three points."

" Rob Hughes is still suspended for Rhyl who will need to assess thetness of defenders James Brewerton, Greg Stones and David ompson.

Brewerton came o during the second half of last weekend's Welsh Cup win at Carmarthen with a thigh problem, while Stones and ompson are both aiming to overcome back niggles.

Strong said: "Being the sort of player he is, Brewie would have stayed on at Carmarthen, but we decided to bring him o as we didn't want the problem to get any worse." Rhyl are in ne form having lost just three of their last 16 in all competitions, and are into the seminals of the Welsh Cup, in which they will face Newtown at e Rock, home of Cefn Druids, next month.

Strong said: "If we'd managed to turn a few draws into wins who knows where we'd be, but bringing in a proven goalscorer like Ashley Ruane has helped immensely."

Bangor boss Neville Powell will be without talismanic striker Les Davies, who begins a twomatch ban for accumulation of cautions.

Front man Lee Healey is available again after being cuptied for last weekend's Welsh Cup defeat at home to Newtown.

City also hope midelder Damien Allen has recovered from a virus which has ruled him out of the last two matches.

Powell could not stress enough the importance of today's derby between rivals who will be in direct Welsh Premier combat for the 39th time.

Bangor lead the series by 19 wins to 16 with three draws.

Powell said: "Staying in the league has always been our priority and we know if we can win on Saturday and the Cefn Druids result (at Carmarthen) goes our way we could climb out of the bottom two, which would be immense."

He added: "We've been playing well, we're unbeaten since the split in the league, but we need to keep that run going and we are under no illusions how hard that's going to be at Rhyl."

RHYL (from): Ramsay, Woodward, Thompson, Astles, Brewerton, Mackin, Cadwallader, Stones, Ruane, Dawson, Kenny, McManus, Gosset, Lamb, Rowlands, Askew, Walsh, Bowen.

BANGOR (from): Connor Roberts, Walker, Hart, Chris Roberts, Clowes, Johnston, Morris, R Edwards, Healey, Caddick, Jones, S Edwards, Miley, Allen, Cavanagh, Warrington.

CAPTION(S):

| Greg Strong believes Bangor have a strong squad with |players like Sam Hart (left); Rhyl's Greg Stones (above) faces a late fitness test; Lee Healey (below) returns for Bangor
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Post (Conwy, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Mar 14, 2015
Words:643
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