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Hammers boss eyeing Rangers shock
8:00pm Thursday 25th October 2012 in Football
UPBEAT Adrian Mander says Cradley Town will take the game to league leaders Black Country Rangers this Saturday.
The Hammers head to Packwood Road in high spirits following their 3-0 win against Bewdley Town last weekend.
But for the hosts it’s a different story after a 5-1 loss to Wolverhampton Casuals — their third West Midlands Premier defeat of the season.
Cradley are part of a chasing pack which is gradually closing the gap and Mander feels the leaders are not the dominant force they once were.
He said: “I think you can get at them and the good thing for us is we are going into the game full of confidence.
“They on the other hand have just suffered a humbling defeat and I feel this may be the perfect time for us.
“There is no doubt the power thay have going forward is frightening and I think the key will be to get stuck in early.
“We won’t sit back, I won’t allow that.
“If we can grab a goal early doors it will stand us in good stead.”
Mander was delighted with the win against Bewdley, admitting the performance surprised even himself.
Striker Jason Barton continued his excellent form with two goals, taking his tally for the season to 12.
He could soon be joined again up front by Chris Russell, who may be set for a surprise return to Beeches View Avenue.
Russell left the Hammers last month for Midland Alliance outfit Tividale but walked out before their game at Continental Star last weekend when he was only named on the bench.
Mander admitted that Russell has since been in touch over a possible return but revealed the striker is also a target for Black Country Rangers.
He said: “They put in seven-days for him as he is still on West Midlands League forms with us and even asked if we could waive it.
“That would have meant he could play against us on Saturday and we have obviously rejected that.
“It’s early days but he may be coming back to us.”
Causeway United head to Heath Hayes this weekend looking to bounce back from a 2-1 defeat to Midland Alliance leaders Stratford Town last weekend.
Unbeaten Stratford quickly established a two-goal lead and though Stuart How pulled one back late on United could not find a leveller.