Striker Michael Rankine encouraged by Hereford United's displays ahead of visit to Skrill Premier leaders Cambridge United (From Hereford Times)
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Striker Michael Rankine encouraged by Hereford United's displays ahead of visit to Skrill Premier leaders Cambridge United
POWERFUL striker Michael Rankine has been encouraged by Hereford United’s last three displays ahead of the trip to Skrill Premier leaders Cambridge United on Saturday.
“We started off well and then went through a bit of a sticky patch, said Rankine who, unfortunately for the Bulls, will be ruled out of the trip to the Abbey Stadium with a hamstring problem.
“But in the last three games, we have shown a bit more strength, passion and desire.
“We should really have won against Luton and we had some good chances.
“We have a lot to work on but we’re doing well, too.”
Rankine has been particularly impressed with the United rearguard which has kept clean sheets in each of the last two games.
“The defence has been looking very solid,” said the former Aldershot man.
“Luke Graham is a very experienced player and reads the game really well.
“A lot of the younger boys are looking at him and will take a leaf out of his book.
“Luke has been brilliant for us and is a good leader – he’s a very good captain so what we have to do now is to keep on being solid.”
Rankine has not been able to start a match since the home win over Tamworth on August 24 and is itching to get back into the action.
“I had a big injury when I ruptured my ankle but apart from that I’ve never really had any injuries so it’s frustrating for me,” said the 28-year-old.
“I probably pushed it a bit too early at Halifax and aggravated it again.
“But after the next couple of weeks, I hope I shall come back fine.”
His ability to hold the ball up has been sorely missed in his absence and many United fans will be keen to see him play alongside Richard Brodie, a partnership which flourished under Martin Foyle at York when the pair bagged 39 goals between them in a run to the play-offs.
“The lads think that I can bring something to the team and if that means hold-up play then I will try to be the hold-up player,” said Rankine.
“Fingers crossed, when I’m fit, I can bring something to the team and take us up the table.
“I’m still the joint top goalscorer and I need to start adding more goals to my game,” he acknowledged.
“I’ve got two so far from four starts so if I can get more than that would be brilliant for me and the club as well.”
United may have some new faces on show on Saturday after loanees Michael West (Crewe) and Paul Green (Forest Green) returned to their parent clubs.
Boss Martin Foyle admitted that any new loanees would have to be eligible to take part in the FA Cup, in which United’s first involvement comes on October 26 in the fourth qualifying round.