by Mark Barrow
SADDLEWORTH RANGERS have three matches left to secure a play-off spot as the 2016 National Conference League, Division Two season draws to a close.
Rangers are looking strong in fourth place, despite losing 16-10 in their last outing at relegation threatened Stanningley on Saturday, September 3 in what was Rangers’ first game in three weeks.
And with only one point separating the teams in third and seventh place, Rangers will look to bounce back this Saturday, September 10 for the trip to play-off rivals Thornhill Trojans.
They then visit relegation threatened Salford City Roosters on September 17, before a potentially nerve-racking finale at Askam, who are currently second in the division, on September 24.
Their remaining fixtures are all away to leave their Shaw Hall Bank Road ground empty so work can start on building a new clubhouse.
Although joint head coach Paul Geener admits promotion would cap off what has been a fine season, he claims the team can be proud of how far they have come, regardless of the end result.
He said: ‘’Getting into the play offs is still the aim, but we just have to take one match at a time.
‘’Considering the very disappointing season we had last year [culminating in relegation], I think we all have to remember just how far we have come.
“The lads should all be proud of themselves, but of course promotion would be a great bonus.
‘’I’ve been especially impressed with Ben Whitehead, Ethan Langhorn and Adam Jeffrey – they’ve all had a fantastic season.’’
Rangers could have been in an even better position but their small squad has been stretched to the limits during the holiday season, which has provided valuable experience for under-18 players.
And although Rangers recorded good wins against Wigan St Judes, Askam and Leigh East during July, they will hope defeats at Blackbrook and Bradford Dudley Hill in the same month don’t prove costly.