STAFFORD Rangers’ new boss Andy Mutch issued a “get fit” ultimatum to some of his squad after Saturday’s disappointing defeat at home to Matlock Town, writes Dave McLean.
His claim that some players were not looking after their fitness levels away from the club followed Rangers third defeat in four league and cup games, the Boro going down 3-1 after taking a first minute lead against the Gladiators.
“After 35 minutes and going into the second half we were dead on our feet,” said Mutch. “It’s not just one player, there’s loads of them, they were shattered.
“What they do with themselves I don’t know and I’ve addressed the situation and told them straight that I’m not going to put up with it, because, ultimately, they are young lads, they should be fit. They should be able to last 90 minutes and they are all dying on their feet.”
Mutch said that if they were fit then Rangers could compete with anybody in the Evo Stik Premier league, but added: “But as the game went on we were looking more tired.
“We are not mentally strong, physically strong and that’s something that has got to change. The players have got to get themselves fit.”
Mutch, who has been in charge of Rangers’ last three matches on a permanent basis, having lost just once in six games as the club’s caretaker boss, will now realise the honeymoon is over.
However, he said: “In time I will bring players in to enhance the situation, but the bottom line is that these are the players we have at the moment and they’ve got to get themselves fit.”
And Mutch will be looking for a big response on Saturday when Rangers hit the FA Trophy trail away to Coalville Town of the Evo-Stik division one (South), kick-off 3pm.
Coalville, one league lower than the Marston Road men, secured their place in the first qualifying round with a 3-1 replay victory over Stratford Town last week.
The teams had shared four goals in the first encounter at Stratford and it was they who took a first half lead in the replay.
However, Coalville struck back in the second half with goals from Reece Lester, Kevin Charley and Anthony Carney to earn a home tie against Rangers, at the Owen Street sports ground (Leicestershire).
Rangers have met Coalville in recent years. In 2008, in an FA Cup second qualifying round clash, the Boro, then managed by Mutch’s former Wolves strike partner Steve Bull, crashed out 2-1.
Now Mutch will be hoping he can go one better than his ex-Molineux colleague and steer Rangers into the next round of the FA Trophy.
If a replay is needed it will take place at Stafford on Tuesday night (7.45pm), which will mean that the scheduled league game at home to Stamford that same night will have to be re-arranged. Rangers are still missing long term injury duo, Karl Ashton and Fabrice Kasiama.