Stafford prepare for first league game since Hill departure

Stafford Rangers return to league action for the first time since the departure of Matty Hill this weekend.

It was confirmed last Friday that the club had parted company with Hill by mutual consent after nearly three years in charge.

A club statement said: "It is with deep regret that we can confirm the club has parted company with First Team Manager, Matt Hill, by mutual consent.

"Matt took over the reigns at a very difficult time for the club and brought stability on the football side securing an eighth place finish in his first season. A mid-table finish followed in the second season and we had all hoped to progress this year. Sadly, for whatever reason, results have been below expectation and leave the club in a precarious position.

"We would like to thank Matt for his total commitment to the club and endless hours he has devoted to bring success on the pitch. It goes without saying that we wish Matt every success in the future and he will always be welcome at Marston Road."

His assistant, Dale Belford, took interim charge for the FA Trophy game against National League North side Brackley Town last weekend, and is expected to be in the dugout again for the trip to Ilkeston Town on Saturday.

Despite their lowly league position, Stafford took high-flying Brackley from the league above all the way, going down 4-2 in a penalty shoot-out following a 0-0 draw at Marston Road.

Speaking after the game, Belford said: “It’s been a difficult few days. Matty is a good friend of mine, but he understands football. We have an obligation to try and get results for the football club.

“You can see what the lads are capable of. They’re great lads. I’ve always loved working with them. I’ve been here three years now and whatever happens will happen, but it would be nice to try and keep the lads together if that’s the type of performance they’re going to put in.”

Stafford are second bottom in the Northern Premier League Premier Division, and were beaten 5-0 last time out in the league by Worksop Town.

They have won two and drawn two of their 15 games so far, and have back-to-back league home games against Atherton Collieries and Marske United after Saturday’s trip to Ilkeston.

Where next?

Betts back at Basford Basford United have announced the re-signing of defender Owen Betts.
Former Everton striker makes NPL move Macclesfield have announced the signing of former Premier League forward Oumar Niasse.

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