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Crunch period for the Rangers

By Staffordshire Newsletter  |  Posted: January 02, 2014

By Dave McLean

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IT is fast becoming a do or die situation at Marston Road after Stafford Rangers crashed to heavy defeats in both their Christmas holiday fixtures.

And most alarming is the number of goals the team continues to leak, with another eight conceded in their festive fixtures against Nantwich Town (4-1) and Ashton United (4-0). That made it a remarkable 102 in the calendar year for 2013.

At present there appearslittle sign of a change in fortunes for the Boro, whose boss Andy Mutch knows his squad are facing a make or break start to the new year.

Four of the next five matches are against fellow relegation clubs, starting with Saturday's home game against the team just a place above them, Stocksbridge Park Steels (3pm).

Stocksbridge are currently in 22nd place, but six points clear of Rangers, who have only picked up six points out of a possible 39 from their last 13 matches. After their double festive setback, Rangers fell further behind their rivals and now find themselves a massive 16 points adrift of the safety zone.

Following the visit of Stocksbridge, the Boro head for Blyth Spartans (tenth place), entertain winless Droylsden (24th), visit Grantham Town (20th), before entertaining Frickley Athletic (19th) on February 1.

Mutch will surely be looking for at least three wins out of four against fellow relegation-threatened opponents, but that in itself appears a tall order when you consider that Rangers have won only three league games all season.

Striker Karl Ashton, out for eight months with an ankle injury, returned at Nantwich, but was again missing through illness at Ashton.

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