THE chances of Graham Heathcote (pictured) emerging the big saviour of Stafford Rangers were dealt a major blow this week.
Heathcote's Marston Road arrival at the beginning of the year had brought with it a little more hope that Rangers could possibly pull off the great escape in the Evo-Stik Premier.
Two home wins in three had seen second bottom Boro close the points margin between themselves and the league safety mark, but missed chances cost them dearly at the weekend as they fell 2-0 at home to fellow strugglers Frickley.
The outcome saw Rangers take a step back and they now find themselves 13 points off safety with 14 matches to play. And most of their nearest rivals have games in hand.
Heathcote said this week: "Times are difficult. People think there is a quick fix, but there isn't. We've got to walk before we run. I'm not here for a short term fix. We've got to build in order to take this club forward."
He also said that the club had to rebuild its reputation with non-league players in order to attract new faces.
"I am a realist and I understand the length of this job. There is no quick fix."
After the Frickley defeat, Heathcote has moved quickly to freshen up his squad, bringing in two players with Conference Premier experience, one a winger, the other an experienced central defender.
They are included in the squad for Saturday's tough trip to play-off hopefuls FC United, at Bury's Gigg Lane ground (3pm). "We have got to be a lot more solid," said Heathcote.
Back in September, not long after former boss Andy Mutch took the helm, Rangers surprised FC United 2-1 at Stafford, therefore are chasing a league double.