By Nathan Worthington
Rangers’ joint coach Paul Geener says he is aiming for a top four finish this season, following a mixed start to the campaign.
The team appears to be back in form, winning two games back to back, including last week’s 32-24 victory over promotion contenders Dudley Hill.
“It was a much needed win, especially coming off the back of three defeats,” Geener admits.
“We can use this now to get back on the horse.”
The win came at a crucial time in the season, with the team sixth in National Conference League Division Two as they welcome Thornhill to Shaw Hall Bank Road on Saturday, May 14.
It’s the first of a string of home fixtures after the league accommodated the club’s request to play the last six league games away to enable an earlier start on the club demolition.
“We’ve got a run of five or six games to play at home now, so we need to be picking up points there.” Geener says, “It’s always good to have a home advantage.”
It’s also no secret that the team has been contending with an injury crisis for much of the season, but Geener makes no excuses for any of the losses.
“At one point we had nine men out injured. We didn’t even have 17 players. What I would say is I think the teams we’ve had out have been more than capable of winning our games.”
But every cloud has a silver lining, and the spate of injuries has given players an opportunity to play and impress in different roles on the field.
“Adam Jeffrey usually plays on the wing, but we’ve had him playing at second-row and prop,” Geener explained.
“Same with Daniel Bowker, he’s usually in the backs, but he’s been playing second-row and prop too. But they’re both big lads. They held their own.”
Geener has been particularly impressed with Harry Godfrey and the way he’s filled in at the important role of hooker, having just broken through from the under 18s.
Impressive: Harry Godfrey (picture thanks to Jackie Clowes)
“He’s done a great job stepping in for Dale Lowe (who was banned last week after being sent off). For a young lad in a key position, he’s been outstanding.”
And looking at how the rest of the season will pan out from now onwards, Greener feels positive and says he has seen good signs from his team in recent weeks.
“We’re getting better. Discipline’s getting better,” he said. “Our structure is there or thereabouts – we’re going in the right direction, and I think the results will show that.
“It could be that we now go and lose our next three games though, but I think we’ll be alright. We aren’t just going to roll over.”