MATCH PREVIEW: Stafford Rangers v Ilkeston FC

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Ilkeston will be looking for their first win in 15 attempts on Saturday as they travel to Stafford Rangers.

The Robins last won a game back in October at Coalville Town, with no further victories in any competition since then.

Their frustrating run hasn’t been helped with the departure of key and experienced players such as Ross Durrant, Luke Foster, Anton Brown and Malachi Lavelle-Moore, their last outing being a 1-0 defeat at home to Matlock Town on Bank Holiday Monday.

Stafford, meanwhile, began their year with a 1-0 win at home to Nantwich Town on Monday, with boss Neil Kitching citing this as a big week for Rangers as they look to improve on their 17th position so far.

He told the Staffordshire Newsletter: “It’s a huge week for us, and we made the squad aware.

“It’s game on for us. We’re on 32 points with a home game coming up on Saturday when we’ll be doing everything to try and get three points. Then we’d be on 35 points with three or four games in hand on most teams at the halfway point.

“I’m happy with that.”

In contrast to Ilkeston, Stafford have lost just once in the league since October, with Kitching adding: ““There’ll be one or two teams looking at us thinking ‘Stafford are in good nick’,” said Kitching.

“I’m hoping that we have an improved second half of the season – better than the first half, and we pick up more points to push up the table.”

The two sides are yet to meet this season, although that wasn’t supposed to be the case.

Stafford were due to be Ilkeston’s first opponents of the season at the New Manor Ground but the Robins’ suspension from league activity saw the game called off.

The rearranged game was then postponed last month due to a waterlogged pitch, with that fixture now due to take place on March 4.

In the meantime, Ilkeston will head to Rangers territory to try and prove a point as they aim to escape the relegation zone.

When: Saturday, January 7, 2017.

Where: Marston Road, Stafford, ST16 3BX.

How much: £10 adults, £7 concessions, £1 under-18s when accompanied by an adult.