Stafford preview…

Rushden travel to Marston Road on Tuesday to face a Stafford Rangers side who have won just one game in thirteen; the win coming in Saturday’s 2-1 defeat of Cambridge. The Diamonds have already played Stafford once this yeear, a 1-1 draw at Nene Park, and in the 5 games between the sides Rushden have never lost.

Stafford are one of the two teams who are already relegated this term, but still have to contend with Droylsden to avoid the dubious ahievement of winning the wooden spoon by finishing bottom. A final day clash with the Bloods may decide the outcome of the final table standings.

‘Boro’s last home game drew injust over 450 spectators, the third lowest league attendance recorded this term, but the crowd may be slightly larger, as some extra fans are drawn in to watch after Stafford’s “giant-killing” victory over Cambridge at the Abbey Stadium.

Despite not having not recorded a win in 6 games before Saturday’s 1-0 defeat of FGR, Rushden should be confident of earning all 3 points against already-relegated Stafford. Rangers were mathematically relegated when they lost 4-0 to York last week, but were, in theory, relegated long before. Stafford have not moved out of the relegation places since their opening day defeat to Farsley Celtic.

Tuesday’s tie will be Rushden’s last “easy” game before embarking on their tough season run-in. It should give the Diamonds another chance to get a glimpse at Sam Smith, who may possibly get a starting role. Smith, who has featured, albeit for just a collective 11 minutes, in recent games, has been training with the senior squad for the past two months, and is expected to stay with them for the remiander of the season.

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