LOAN goalkeeper Paul Rachubka says keeping Accrington Stanley in the Football League would rank on a par with helping Blackpool into the Premier League.
The Leeds United stopper made 21 appearances for the Tangerines the season they won promotion to the top flight in 2009/10.
But after yesterday returning to the Store First Stadium on loan until the end of the season, following a recent temporary spell with Stanley, Rachubka admits survival would mean just as much – ahead of tomorrow’s trip to Port Vale.
And he feels the Reds have the quality, through the blend of youth and experience manager Leam Richardson has looked to gain through the transfer window, to steer clear of the relegation zone.
“I think the manager’s trying to get a team that’s going to gel and mix in all the different aspects that make a great football team,” said Rachubka, who insists the club need to start picking up results now to back up that bid.
“There are a lot of factors but we want to put safety to bed as quickly as possible.
“We’re focusing on winning the next game and the next one after that.
“If you put three or four wins together back to back it’s a whole different story.
“But it’s one game at a time, and we’re preparing for that.”
Although Rachubka expects to be busy, given that Vale striker Tom Pope alone has scored 27 goals in 33 games, he insists Stanley will not be daunted by the challenge of taking on the second placed side.
“We’re going to go out and put in a performance that reflects what we can do,” he said. “I think we’ve got enough in here now to go and get the three points.
“Port Vale have done really well but I think things can change here now, and that starts tomorrow.
“Every game’s going to be a cup final, and why shouldn’t it be. That’s how important it is. Everyone expects that at the club, including the players.”
With Rachubka out of contract at Leeds in the summer, the 31-year-old is hoping to use his Stanley spell as an opportunity to put himself in the shop window.
But he insists the situation regarding his future won’t be a distraction.
“It’s easy to get involved in that mindset but you’ve got to do well in the next game to earn your place in the team the game after,” he said.
“That’s what I’m focusing on.
“If I do that then come the end of the season it will look after itself.
“That’s part of goalkeeping and part of football.
“You’ve got to do well week in, week out. That’s what I’m going to bring to this squad and try to help everyone in the team because we’ll win together and we’ll lose together.”
Asked whether keeping Stanley safe would mean as much as promotion with Blackpool, Rachubka added: “Definitely.
“There are different challenges in football and this is one of them.
“I think we’ve got everything we need to do well in this league. It’s going to be a challenge but I think we’re more than capable of doing it.”