FOOTBALL: Deeping Rangers ‘in good shape’ for championship battle

Scott Coupland struck twice on Saturday after a hat-trick in the 8-1 home win over St Andrews in September
  • ChromaSport & Trophies United Counties League Premier Division

Deeping Rangers manager Michael Goode feels ready to resume the title race after the big freeze.

The Clarets have moved up to fourth place, level on points with Holbeach United.

They are above the Tigers on goal difference – six points behind leaders Yaxley with four games in hand.

Deeping will be back home against Yaxley next Friday night.

Goode said: “As I’ve repeated for a couple of months, we are not looking at other results.

“We were doing that before Christmas and it did us no favours at all.

Our fitness levels have gone up to make a significant impact. We are in good shape.

Michael Goode

“We’re in a great position now and we will be prepared whatever happens.

“It’s been like pre-season with a couple of really good training sessions between our games recently.

“Our fitness levels have gone up to make a significant impact. We are in good shape.”

Goode was delighted as Deeping made it six wins out of seven in 2018 by taking three points at St Andrews last Saturday, having conceded the opening goal inside 10 minutes.

Top scorer Scott Coupland soon levelled then Michael Simpson and Chris Hollist both struck just before the break.

Coupland completed another double to extend the unbeaten run to nine games.

Goode said: “It was a lot tougher than the scoreline suggests. I don’t think many teams will look forward to playing there.

“St Andrews were very physical and strong so they tried to bully us and make life difficult.

“It was a poor goal for us to concede from a set-piece and we weren’t prepared for what they would throw at us.

“We settled down a bit and realised that we couldn’t play in our own half.

“We got the ball forward and out wide with all the goals coming from crosses into the box.

“It was a really good win, especially as we were missing a few players.”

Captain David Burton-Jones completed a two-match ban for 10 bookings.

Louis Hamilton will miss the next game again through suspension for a red card in the draw at Sleaford Town.

Left-back Tom Smith was absent on Saturday as Hollist moved across, also allowing Jonny Clay to make his first start since a head injury in the defeat at Holbeach United.

Danny Bircham continued in goal but Richard Stainsby was back on the bench after a charity trip to Africa.

On-loan Stamford striker Sam Hollis made his full debut for Deeping.

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