NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: Crucial home clashes as Soham Town Rangers attempt to climb out of slump
PUBLISHED: 09:39 16 January 2020 | UPDATED: 09:39 16 January 2020
Soham Town Rangers face two crucial bottom-six showdowns as they bid to turn their season around.
The struggling Greens host AFC Sudbury this Saturday, 3pm, and Basildon United on Tuesday, 7.45pm.
AFC Sudbury are two places and two points above the fourth-bottom Greens, while Basildon are a point and a place beneath the local side.
And the significance of the back-to-back Julius Martin Lane clashes is certainly not lost on player-coach Lloyd Groves as Rangers attempt to climb out of a worrying slump.
They beat Sudbury 4-2 in the reverse fixture on October 19 but have only managed one other league success in their dozen North Division outings since then.
"There are two very big games," said Groves. "And we know we need to get results in them.
"People were starting to make a bit of noise about us after that win at Sudbury, but it hasn't been very good at all since then.
"Sudbury are a very good outfit who are renowned for bringing players through their youth system.
"We'll expect to come up against a reasonably young side, but they also have experience through the spine of their side.
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"We don't quite know what to expect from Basildon given their manager and a number of players have left, but our focus has to be on ourselves anyway and ensuring we get our performances right.
"That hasn't always been the case lately during a really poor run of form, but we still believe in ourselves.
"We don't fear anyone in this league so it's about getting our gameplan right and ensuring we climb out of this rut."
The games against Sudbury and Basildon complete a run of four consecutive home games for Soham.
They have failed to pick up a point from the previous two after being pipped 3-1 by Canvey Island in a controversial January 7 clash before going down 1-0 to Hullbridge Sports last Saturday.
The Essex side hit the only goal in the latter clash just after the hour mark and held on for victory despite being reduced to 10 men late on.
Rangers gave a debut to new defensive recruit Jake Kerins against Hullbridge following his arrival from Biggleswade Town on a dual registration deal.
But another recent signing has left after only two appearances with defender Charlie Johnson switching to another Step 4 side, Yaxley.
Rangers hope to complete the capture of former favourite Jonny Kaye from Wisbech Town ahead of the weekend.
There could also be another new face with Soham bosses in talks with League Two club Peterborough United about the possibility of bringing in one of their youngsters.