Jody Banim can’t wait as Stafford Rangers host his former club

Stafford Rangers boss Jody Banim admits he is ‘like a kid at Christmas’ ahead of their long-awaited return to competitive action tomorrow.

Stafford Rangers manager Jody Banim
Stafford Rangers manager Jody Banim

Banim, after taking the reins earlier this summer, is preparing for his first Northern Premier game in charge of Boro.

They are welcoming Ashton United – where he won promotion to National League North as manager before leaving them last November – to Marston Road.

And Banim said: “Football is mad, isn’t it? Everyone knows my connections with Ashton, it’s a club I spent a lot of time at.

“But that’s over now and we want to get three points. We just want to get off to a good start and continue the pre-season form that we’ve had.

“At this moment in time, I’m cautiously optimistic for the season. We want to play attractive football.

“The signs are looking good, and now I just can’t wait for the game. I’m like a kid at Christmas. Hopefully, we can get around 600 fans in – the maximum we can have at this moment in time – and we can give them something to cheer.”

Banim was unveiled as Rangers chief in May, and he added: “It’s been the longest pre-season known to man. We’ve had to adapt and it’s been a busy time, bringing in a lot of players and keeping around half of last season’s squad.

“Pre-season has gone well – we’ve only lost one game – against tough opposition. It’s gone quite well, and now we’re looking forward to starting properly.”

In the league’s Division One South East, Chasetown are hosting Frickley Athletic. Hednesford are going up against Stourbridge, and Rushall Olympic are travelling to Leiston – both in the Southern Central Premier. And in Southern Central One, Halesowen Town are welcoming Yaxley to The Grove.

Meanwhile, Dudley Town will have the inside track on opponents Heath Hayes in the FA Vase first qualifying round. Robins boss Matty Lovatt snapped up winger Rhys Horton from the Midland League side in the summer and has been tapping into his knowledge ahead of tomorrow’s trip.

“We signed Rhys from Heath Hayes and he knows what they are about and has told us what we can expect,” said Lovatt. “The lads are champing at the bit, it’s a nice game to start the season and a competition that generates some added excitement.”

Among the many Vase ties this weekend, new boss Dean Gill has promised Bilston Town will show no fear when they travel to Rugby. “I’ve been to watch Rugby a couple of times and they won both matches comprehensively,” he said. “But we don’t fear anyone. We will go there and give it our best shot.”

One of the few not in Vase action are Sporting Khalsa, who will look to maintain their early top-of-the-table position in the Midland Premier as they face Worcester City.

Kidderminster Harriers have signed former Barnsley midfielder Keziah Martin, following a successful trial.

Most Read

Most Read

Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.

Top Stories

More from the Express & Star

UK & International News