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Big reality check for Stafford Rangers new boss Graham Heathcote

By Staffordshire Newsletter  |  Posted: January 13, 2014

By Dave McLean

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AS he starts to pick up the pieces of the weekend 6-2 drubbing at Blyth, new Stafford Rangers boss Graham Heathcote admitted he had become a “wiser man” since taking charge at Marston Road a week ago.

“I’m a wiser man, that’s for certain, having seen how poorly we defended in the first 20 minutes. They just blew us away (scoring four goals). The game was over by then it’s as simple as that,” said Heathcote, who became Rangers’ third manager this season after Andy Mutch’s departure just over a week ago.

But Heathcote said he was able to take some positives from the game and said: “The important part for me was that we kept going which is the least we could expect from the players and the least we could ask from them and that’s what they did.

“We were very naïve in our marking at times. But I’m learning all the time (about the squad) and I’ve learned a lot more from this game than I did against Stocksbridge last week.

“Blyth are about tenth, not in the top four or five and that is alarming and something I’ve got to work on. I’ve told the players it is no good worrying about this now, but the bottom line is that we’ve got to find solutions to the problems.”

Heathcote said that at half-time, with Rangers trailing 4-0, all he asked of the players was a little more pride in the shirt and: “I told them to keep going. I said I wanted to see a little bit of character from them as individuals and we were a bit more positive in the second half.

“But it’s clearly not rocket science that we have major problems when you concede six goals.

“I know the size of the task and the job in hand and we are not going to rectify that in seven days.

“It will take time to improve the squad and we must all knuckle down. I’ll be speaking to people to see if we can strengthen the squad to work in the system we want to play. The players couldn’t handle the movement (of Blyth) and that’s one area we must educate them.”

With a full week to work on the present squad and bring in possible new faces, Heathcote must now prepare the players for Saturday’s bottom of the table clash at home to winless Droylsden (3pm).

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