Fixture pile-up for Rangers

FOR the second week running Berwick found themselves frozen out when their home match against Peterhead on Saturday was a victim of the weather.

Now the Rangers must try and regroup after their recent winter slump and hopefully pick up as many points as possible from a spell which will see them compete in seven games over a 22 day period.

Ian Little’s side, who have not won in their last seven outings, face league leaders Alloa away on Saturday. This will be followed by a rearranged game at Clyde on Tuesday (February 14), with a home match against promotion chasing Annan on Saturday 18. There is another rearranged away game against Queens Park on Tuesday 21 with East Stirling the visitors to Shielfield on Saturday 25. The Peterhead game has been rescheduled for Tuesday 28 with Stranraer away on Saturday, March 3.

“It’s a tough few weeks and there’s no denying that after our recent run we need to get back to winning ways,” said Little.

“The last couple of weeks have been disappointing with the call-offs, but there’s not a lot we can do about the weather.

“As it is we have to remain focused, keep our composure, and try to get back to where we know we should be.”

Little will go into the hectic spell without the services of one of his regulars, midfielder Kevin McDonald, who has been suspended for three games after exceeding the disciplinary points limit after his sending off at Elgin.

However, the enforced lay-off has given central defender Chris McLeod a while longer to recover from injury.

He has returned to training in recent weeks after a lengthy absence and could be in line for a recall to the squad over the coming weeks.

Berwick added two players to their squad as the January transfer window came to a close, but at the same time released two others.

Midfielders Darren Smith and Arran Ponton, who both featured mainly with the Reserves, left for pastures new.

Smith was released after his contract expired, whilst Ponton was loaned out to Arniston Juniors, but will still be available to the club if they require his services in the future.

Joining the squad are defender Stephen Tulloch and striker John Ferguson.

Tulloch, who is 24, can play central defence or left back. He has signed from Forfar Athletic, initially for a one month period, and was due to go straight into the squad for Saturday’s postponed match against Peterhead.

He is a former Dalkeith Thistle and Raith Rovers player and a recent regular in the Forfar team.

Ferguson (20), has been signed from Cowdenbeath. He has played several first team games for the Blue Brazil and scored some vital goals. He had recently been out on loan at Vale of Leithen, previously managed by new assistant manager Robbie Horn, and was also farmed out to Juniors Dundonald Bluebell and Kelty Hearts.

Rangers have also agreed a deal to extend goalkeeper Gavin Sorley’s contract to the end of the season. The former East Stirling stopper was drafted in as back-up to Jamie Barclay after Ian McCaldon quit the club because of his back injury.

He initially agreed a one month contract, but it was announced last week that the club had now secured his services until May.

The game against Peterhead was called off early on Saturday morning following a pitch inspection. A statement issued by the club on Friday said the game was ‘in the balance’ because of frost, and with temperatures again dropping to below freezing overnight, and with the prospect of some snow during the course of the day, the decision was taken to postpone it, thereby preventing Peterhead from making a wasted journey.

Club secretary Dennis McCleary said: “ We had a severe frost overnight from Thursday into Friday and it hit the playing surface hard. Ross Aitchison, our groundsman, had the goal areas covered and there is a good covering of grass, but the frost had really penetrated.

“On Saturday the ground was still frozen solid after overnight temperatures well below freezing point and with no let-up in sight a decision was made early to prevent any unnecessary travel.”