Julian Watts happy with Rainworth’s pre-season

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Manager Julian Watts has stated his belief that there are far more positives than negatives to take out of Rainworth MW’s opening three pre-season fixtures.

Reflecting on a 2-0 defeat by League Two Mansfield Town, and goalless draws against Evo-Stik League Gresley and Central Midlands neighbours Sherwood Colliery, Watts said that his priority of laying and building from a solid base is bearing fruit. But he acknowledged that the lack of goals so far has to be addressed.

Speaking after Tuesday night’s home draw with Sherwood, the Wrens boss said: “The Mansfield game was a difficult one for us against full time professionals when we had only just started back training, but it was a good exercise for us in establishing our shape, and to keep Mansfield to just two goals was an achievement in itself.

“Saturday’s game against Gresley was excellent - we matched them over the 90 minutes and created the better scoring chances, but more pleasing than anything after last season was the clean sheet, so we came out of that game with plenty of positivity.

“Sherwood certainly made things difficult for us though. We beat them 6-0 in the Senior Cup last season and they obviously didn’t want a repeat of that. They frustrated us by sitting back and making life hard, and as that frustration grew so our quality dipped and we became sloppy.

“I did warn the lads at half time not to allow that to happen, but at the end of it we came out with our second successive clean sheet, and compared with last season that is a massive improvement.

“Of course the supporters will want to know when we are going to start scoring goals again, and yes, we do need more decisiveness around the box. I’m sure the goals will come, but we are concentrating on laying a solid base and building on that. We played some great football and scored a lot of goals last season, and we are still capable of doing that.”

On the absence so far of last season’s leading scorer Liam Morris, Watts pointed out: “Liam is in the throes of having just moved house and has missed a large chunk of pres-season. He was our biggest goal threat last year, and I hope we’ll be able to get him fit fairly quickly. He’s played alongside Aaron Moxam before and with the likes of Declan Brewin and Liam Theakstone we have a good mix of strikers who all bring different qualities to the table, which bodes well for us going forward.”