Rankine says players need to focus on jobs and not worry about finances

First published in Sport

BULLS striker Michael Rankine could be forgiven for a sense of deja vu at the Edgar Street financial crisis.

United's leading scorer finds himself at a club with money worries for the second time in 12 months but he and the rest of the players are determined to keep their eye on the ball.

"The financial news gives us something to think about but we have jobs to do," said the 28-year-old.

"I was in a similar situation last season with Aldershot when we went into administration so I have some experience of it.

"You have to get your head down and keep working – what will be will be, we have to keep on playing and running through brick walls for each other, whatever happens off the field with the finances is something we can’t do anything about, that is for the people above us to sort out.

"Last year here, the same happened and the club ended up just outside the play-offs."

Rankine is full of praise for his team-mates and believes the Bulls have the capability to steer well clear of danger.

"We have a good team and everything seems to be coming together now – that’s pleasing and I’m very happy with it," he said.

"We have a great leader at the back in Luke Graham. He is very experienced and I believe is very unlucky to be playing at this level.

"I think he is one of the best defenders in this league and I would put him up there with the best in League Two.

"We have a good core, Josh O’Keefe in midfield shores it up for us."

Rankine, who scored twice against Southport on Saturday to take his tally for the season to six, said that having a settled side was important after a disrupted start to the season.

"We had a lot of injuries – I was injured, Sam Smith was injured and there were loads of others as well but people are starting to come back into the team now," he said.

"We are starting to get that bit of consistency and we had a lot of young players who had not really played enough games.

"Now they are finding their feet and being very consistent as well."

After Saturday's two-goal display, his own confidence is growing, too, and, with his physical presence and pace, he is proving a handful for Conference defenders.

He was disappointed not to get more than two goals but also admitted that he had, unwittingly, scored three in the game.

"I had a couple of other chances as well and, though it’s hard to admit it, it was a bit of an own goal as well," said Rankine. "He headed it on to my head, which is a disappointment as I like to think that I am a bit better at set-pieces against us.

"It could have been more than 4-1, the lads have been brilliant in creating many more chances now so as a striker you can’t really complain.

"The boys were magnificent in setting me up and if anything I am disappointed that I didn’t get as many as I could – it could have been three or four."

The victory against Southport, he believed, was a significant one as United continue to head in the right direction.

"It’s massively important to be seeing off the teams below us," he said. "This was a six-pointer, we’ve won and done so convincingly but now we have to keep on going and working hard.

"As long as we can stay away from the bottom then up is the only direction we want to be going in."

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