STAFFORD Rangers manager Andy Mutch has admitted for the first time that his Evo Stik Premier strugglers have a mountain to climb if they are to avoid relegation this season.
And the former Wolves striker, who took over the Marston Road reins just over three months ago following Greg Clowes' sacking, claimed his first major job had been to rid the dressing room of an attitude problem.
Mutch was responding to supporters at a question and answer evening at the spocial club on Thursday, in a week when this once leading non-league outfit remained deep in a relegation battle, currently 11 points off safety.
By the end of a meeting, that lasted over two hours and was well attended by worried Rangers supporters fearing a third demotion in six years, the majority of those fans agreed to get behind Mutch, and chairman Rod Woodward gave the boss his support until at least the end of this season.
"I very quickly realised there was an attitude problem and that we had to get a big turnaround of players and that's what we've been doing, slowly but surely," said Mutch.
"It's not going to come overnight, but we'll keep putting in the effort and commitment that is required.
"My experience of any successful non-league side is a side that stays consistent with the players, but I'm unfortunately doing the exact opposite at the moment.
"But I don't apologise for that and I'll keep on changing players until we get an ingredient that can start winning back to back football games. Whatever we think about the financial side (of the club) I would imagine the most important thing to you (supporters) is what you see on the pitch."
Mutch,who takes second bottom Rangers to Barwell on Saturday, said from now on until the end of the season he and his staff would be fighting tooth and nail to keep the club in the Evo-Stik premier.
"There's a mountain to climb, but I believe it's a mountain we can climb, but we'll only prove that in the near future in the games we play."
The meeting also revealed that Mutch had doubled the number of contract players at the club since his arrival, for fear of losing any of his better players.
Mutch confirmed that striker Dan Cope an defenders Darren Bullock and Darren Chadwick had been given season deals.
At the time he arrived at Marston Road, Mutch said the club was constantly approached by other clubs for his non-contract players and added:"There was no stability whatsoever.
"We have to have players that believe in me and my staff and it will be a revolving door at Stafford until we get the right ones, " said Mutch.
"I believe we've slowly started to get the spirit going here. Slowly, but surely we'll turn the corner and I also believe, that in time, we'll get stronger and stronger on the playing side and as a club.
"I still think we have got more than enough time to keep our present status in the league this season and I hope you'll (the fans) will believe that as well."
With Rangers' playing budget standing at £2,400, Woodward said that such a figure was among the top three clubs in the Evo Stik Premier.
"But the attitude of the players we had got was totally wrong and I give my support to Andy for the rest of the season and believe that he can change the attitude in the dressing room, " said Woodward.
"What goes on in the dressing room, goes out on the field to a certain degree, and I believe he can do it."
To the supporters he said:" I ask that you support Andy for the rest of the season."