FC Rangers ready for final reckoning

FC Rangers Under-21s
FC Rangers Under-21s
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FC Rangers Under-21s will be bidding to pick up silverware when they contest the final of a new cup competition on Monday.

The Blackpool club, based at Claremont Park, will take on Lancaster City in the final of the new U21 Lancashire Cup competition.

Their achievement is all the more extraordinary given FC Rangers are one of the few teams in the competition not affiliated to a professional or semi-professional side.

Team manager Dale Azzopardi said: “This is the first time the cup competition has been held as the Lancashire FA Under-21 league was only set up at the start of the season.

“It’s even more impressive when you consider we’re a junior-based club not associated with a professional or semi-professional club.

“We simply decided to form an U21 side from past players.

The standard of the football is really good and we get to play in some stadiums, which is a great experience for the lads as the facilities are fantastic.”

The league was set up to bridge the gap between U18 football and open age, with teams permitted to field three over-21s.

FC Rangers U21s, who re fifth in the table, beat Moss Bank in the semi-finals 1-0, having seen off Ramsbottom United in the previous stage 5-3.

“Ramsbottom beat us 8-4 in the league, so it was good to turn the tables,” Dale added.

“The club’s plan is to get some of our players playing at a higher level. The lads have had a taste now.

“Some know they will be too old to play for us next season, so they will want to go on to play at a better standard. That’s definitely what we want to achieve as a club.”

Dale is under no illusions how difficult the final will be against the unbeaten league leaders .

“We’re expecting a very tough game,” he said. “We’re definitely the underdogs.

“They’re such a good footballing team and their class shows, but I am confident we will give them a good game and I am hopeful we can win. That would be absolutely brilliant.

“Our Under-18 team won the Hogan Cup last season but this would definitely eclipse that achievement.

“This is a completely new team, so it would do wonders for the club to win the cup in its first year.”

The game takes place at the LFA County Ground in Leyland on Monday, with a 7.30pm kick-off.

Admission is £5 for adults, with £3 concessions.

MATT SCRAFTON