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Deeping Rangers get their new United Counties League Premier Division North season underway

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Preparations for a hectic start to the new season have been intensified by Deeping Rangers' new management team.

The Clarets kick-off their United Counties League Premier Division North season on Saturday with a trip to newcomers Sherwood Colliery.

They then host Boston Town on Tuesday before an intriguing FA Cup extra preliminary round tie with Spalding United next weekend.

Luke Hipwell and Scott Bogusz. Photo: Chris Lowndes (58298729)
Luke Hipwell and Scott Bogusz. Photo: Chris Lowndes (58298729)

And the new joint management team of Luke Hipwell and Scott Bogusz, along with assistant Ross Watson, have been gearing up their charges ready for a busy opening.

Hipwell said: "We have done a little bit of homework on Sherwood ahead of Saturday. There is a bit of the unknown but equally, from what we know, it's going to be a really tough test.

"Our away form will be important this season and we need to ensure that we start the season with a positive result to get the ball rolling.

"We then have another tough game against Boston on Tuesday before the FA Cup tie with Spalding.

"The games are going to come thick and fast and I think we have tried to prepare the lads for that so that they cope with the intensity week in, week out.

"We have got a strong squad as well because, with games being Saturday and Tuesday for the most part and with all the cup competitions, you need good depth to ensure that you can stay at the intensity which we want to play at.

"Hopefully we can build on the strategies that we're putting into place. The squad is in a good place so hopefully the lads can do the business.

"They have bought into how we want to play and I have been really pleased with their attitudes and application.

"It's just a case of can we go and apply it into a league game now where there are points to play for?

Ross Watson. Photo: Chris Lowndes
Ross Watson. Photo: Chris Lowndes

"The squad is competitive and we have a competition for places because we don't want lads getting too comfortable and thinking they're nailed on for a starting place."

Rangers have retained the vast of majority of last season's squad which finished in fifth place under the management of Daniel French.

Highly-rated goalkeeper Dan Swan will again form the last line of a defence which features the experience of Dan Flack, Tom Smith, Jack Bloodworth, David Burton-Jones, Luke Hunnings plus player-assistant boss Watson.

Former Yaxley and Holbeach player Spencer Tinkler has returned to the club to bolster a midfield where Rangers have kept the services of Robbie Ellis.

They have also added former Holbeach and Pinchbeck player Aaron Eyett while ex-Tigers and Wisbech frontman Josh Ford has joined the Clarets after spending last season with Moulton Harrox.

Last season's top scorer Will Bird has yet to feature in pre-season due to injury but Rangers do have the attacking prowess of former Peterborough United goalkeeper Luke Steele again at their disposal.

The emerging quartet of Kee Walker, Sam Fielding, Martin Tudosa, Ta'i Williams and Marcus Pancho have also impressed in pre-season.

Hipwell added: "I have been really pleased with the players and, in terms of the squad, we are happy with where we are at.

"We have kept a lot of players from last season while the new signings will complement them.

Spencer Tinkler. Photo: Chris Lowndes
Spencer Tinkler. Photo: Chris Lowndes

"Aaron has been fantastic in the last couple of games and we know what Spencer will give us with that bite in midfield. He's tenacious, hungry and determined to do well.

"Josh is working really hard and his link-up play in pre-season has been excellent. He's getting fitter and fitter and, the more game-time we get him, the better he's going to be and he will be a real asset for us.

"Ross will also make a massive difference as well. He's a real leader, on and off the pitch, and, alongside some of the other experienced players, will give us that bit of bite as well which I think you need in this league. You need a physical presence with authority."

There has been a quartet of departures over the summer with Jones De Sousa joining Whittlesey and Jake Showler also set to move on.

Sam Wilson and Jake Brown have both joined Bourne Town who start their Division One campaign on Saturday with a home match against Clipstone at the JJ Mac Stadium.

Rangers round off their pre-season campaign on Saturday with a strong showing to record a 3-0 home win over Northern Premier League Midlands Division side Yaxley.

Williams, Eyett and an own goal following a Pancho cross sealed the success which followed wins over Stilton and Whittlesey and defeats to Holbeach and Spalding to leave Hipwell content with their pre-season preparations.

He commented: "We had two good work-outs against Stilton and Whittlesey to get 45 minutes into all the lads which was pleasing.

"Holbeach were a much improved side from last season and Danny Clifton and Simon Roberts have done a good job there.

Aaron Eyett. Photo: Chris Lowndes
Aaron Eyett. Photo: Chris Lowndes

"We did well for the first 45 minutes against Spalding but I was then a little bit disappointed that we conceded goals in clusters after the break.

"We wanted to get as many minutes into people as possible on Saturday against Yaxley and treat it like a preliminary game ahead of the league match.

"We were really sharp and started on the front foot. We could have been more ruthless, but equally we scored three goals and kept a clean sheet.

"The result was the icing on the cake because it was more about the performance and gaining that momentum and getting players confident.

"Results in pre-season rarely mean anything because you can win every game and that can then potentially be a bad omen because players can take things for granted.

"Equally you can lose every game and then you see teams go on a run so it's about building momentum rather than results."

Rangers handed a start to teenage goalkeeper Lloyd Barker on Saturday who Hipwell felt had responded superbly to the opportunity.

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