Thursday, July 14, 2011

Big gate expected for Boro opener

 Source: Staffordshire Newsletter

 STAFFORD Rangers are set for a bumper opening day in the Evo Stik Premier League after new fixtures released yesterday gave them a home clash against FC United of Manchester on August 13.

In terms of travelling support they do not come much bigger than FC United, a club formed in 2005 by supporters of Manchester United dissatisfied following Malcolm Glazer’s controversial takeover at Old Trafford.

The Marston Road big kick-off could well attract a 2,000 plus gate, which will be much welcomed by Rangers, who have struggled financially these past few years.

FC United were promoted as champions in their first two seasons in the North West Counties League (division two and one), then won the play-offs in the NPL division one (North) the following year.

This will be their fourth campaign in the Evo-Stik league premier (NPL) having finished sixth, 13th and fourth last term before missing out in the play-offs at the hands of Colwyn Bay.

Rangers, who this week confirmed additional signings in former midfielder Kevin Street and ex-Newcastle Town striker Neville Thompson (both noncontract), face a six-match opening month to the league programme, including a trip to local rivals Hednesford Town on Bank Holiday Monday (Aug 29).

Over the Christmas period they will visit Nantwich Town on Boxing Day, with the return on Easter Monday, while receiving the Pitmen on January 2.

Another big crowd is expected when Chester FC visit on September 24.

In the FA Cup draw, Rangers hit the trail in the first qualifying round on September 17, with an away tie against one of four clubs, Castle Vale, Heath Hayes, Bloxwich United or AFC Wulfrunians.

Rangers also enter the FA Trophy at the same stage (Oct 22) and an intriguing tie is on the cards, with the club drawn away to new manager Greg Clowes’ old team- Newcastle Town or Daventry-based Woodford United.

Opening month’s league fixtures Aug 13 v FC United of Manchester (h), 17 v Worksop Town (a), 20 v Stocksbridge PS (a), 23 v Chorley (h), 27 v Whitby Town (h), 29 v Hednesford Town (a).

See for full fixture card.