Rangers will face Stevenage Borough two years ago to the day at Broadhall Way on Saturday, times certainly have changed.
Picture the scene on Wednesday 19th July 2006, Gary Waddock`s Rangers side who fairly stumbled over the line at the end of their second Championship season made the trip to Broadhall Way.
There they would face new Boro` boss Mark Stimson having recently left Grays Athletic to take up the post.
Amongst their ranks Stevenage could boast former Rangers players such as Adam Miller and Tony Thorpe, and the Rangers squad had prospective debutante Damion Stewart waiting for his chance, and new signing Egutu Oliseh.
The Rangers squad consisted of: Paul Jones, Jake Cole, Marcus Bignot, Damion Stewart, Tobi Jinadu, Andrew Howell, Gareth Ainsworth, Egutu Oliseh, Martin Rowlands, Scott Donnelly, Kevin Gallen, Shabazz Baidoo, Adam Czerkas, Pat Kanyuka, Matthew Rose, Stefan Bailey and Ray Jones.
Rangers managed to rack up a 4-1 win courtesy of a second half brace from Kevin Gallen, and a disappointing start to Gary Waddock`s first season in management saw him replaced by former Aston Villa manager John Gregory, and Stimson also moved onto pastures new opting to take up the vacant managers post at Gillingham.
Only four of Rangers squad on that day two years ago are still in W12 to date. On loan Jake Cole and Jamaican international Damion Stewart still remain along with longest serving duo Gareth Ainsworth and Martin Rowlands.
Flash forward and both teams are in the same positions of the football pyramid, with similar aspirations, however both clubs have made promotion a real priority going into the 2008/09 season.
Boro` now managed by Graham Westley have already caused a stir by beating Gillingham 1-0 at the Priestfield Stadium courtesy of a well placed lob by Steve Morison. But Rangers armed with new vigour and a repertoire of new players at their disposal makes for an interesting encounter at Broadhall Way, certainly with more class than the previous encounter.
They face Southern Leauge Premier outfit Hitchin Town this evening as an appetiser to what will be real test for Graham Wesley`s men at the weekend. They will go onto face Peterborough United, Wycombe Wanderers and Leyton Orient as a prelude to this seasons Blue Square Premier.
Tickets for the match are priced as follows, with no advances sales:
Under 11`s £7
Kick off is at 3:00pm with Rangers set to take a good away support as always. Stay tuned to Vital QPR for the match details and report.
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