Experienced Rangers squad will be tough to beat

Rathfriland Rangers begin their season at home to St Patrick's YM on Saturday (kick-off 2pm). They go into the game fresh off the back of their Banbridge District Cup win. INBL1531-212EB
Rathfriland Rangers begin their season at home to St Patrick's YM on Saturday (kick-off 2pm). They go into the game fresh off the back of their Banbridge District Cup win. INBL1531-212EB
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Following last season’s flirt with relegation, Rathfriland Rangers have set their sights relatively low.

Given the experience of the squad manager Clifford Sterritt has assembled, the first objective of simply remaining in the league should be achieved with little difficulty.

He said: “After last year’s dog fight our objective has to be to stay in the league. We want to be more comfortable.”

After that, the drive up the table will commence. Don’t bet against Rathfriland being much closer to the top of Division 1A.

“A piece of silverware would be great,” continued Sterritt. “I’m sure that’s every team’s aim at the start of the season. Whether that is the league cup or pushing for the league title, we’ll see.”

Sterritt has added a host of players to the club’s squad, including former Glenavon men Aaron Black and Lee Feeney, as well as, Jonathan Black, John Scannell, Tommy Lockhart, Peter Markey and Declan Allister.

This squad will be tough to beat and they have shown as much in pre-season.

Rathfriland have drawn with Dungannon Swifts and Dollingstown, while they put Championship One side, Lurgan Celtic to the sword - claiming a 2-1 victory.

Sterritt said: “I’ve built a good squad here. It is very strong and there is a lot of competition and fighting for places. I’m happy with it and I won;t be adding anymore players before the start of the season.

“Pre-season has been superb but it means nothing if you don’t start well. 1A has improved and a lot of the bigger clubs have got new signings in. There will be added strength from the teams that have dropped down from the Premier Division as well.”

Rathfriland were in last place when Sterritt took over the club last season, and some way off the pace.

They finished seventh, landing comfortably in the middle of the rankings but with the new-look squad, a season of progress seems likely.