Rainworth MW will hope to avoid a third successive Evo-Stik League Division One South defeat when promotion-chasing Sutton Coldfield Town visit Kirklington Road on Saturday.
Wrens boss Scott Rickards has seen his men score two goals in each of their previous two games, both away, only for a return of individual errors to lead to defeats at both Romulus and, last week, Goole.
It’s a trend which has left Rickards tearing his hair in frustration after he thought that particular habit had been eradicated, and he is determined that his former and native town club will not be the next beneficiaries of the Wrens’ misplaced Christmas spirit.
Said Rickards: “I was born in Sutton Coldfield and previously played for the Royals, so I know their manager Neil Tooth very well. Sutton are an old established club at this level, they have a strong line-up in terms of both players and management and, although they lost to Halesowen last week, they have been on a good run prior to that.
“So that means anything less than our very best will see us gain nothing from this game. We have seen in our last two league games at Romulus and Goole that we have fallen short of our standards, and we have paid the price.
“In both those games we scored two goals away from home, and that ought to be enough to have brought us some points reward, but if we don’t defend properly we put ourselves in the position where our goals scored may count for nothing.
“So it is important that we cut out the individual errors which have started to creep back into our game, and stop our frustrating habit of under-performing.”
Despite this, Rainworth are having to try to fend off a number of seven-day approaches from rival clubs, with Jordan Ball (Mickleover Sports) and Ricky Hanson (Shirebrook Town) having moved on in the last couple of weeks.
Rickards continued: “There is nothing wrong with the ability of the players we have. Other clubs clearly know this judging by the number of seven-day approaches we have been receiving for our lads in recent weeks.
“Really this is a bit of a back-handed compliment to them. They are players who have got our comparatively small club into a healthy position in a league in which we could be perceived to be punching above our weight.
“We are sorry to see Jordan and Ricky go – Ricky, of cours,e is a great friend of Kevin Gee (Shirebrook’s former Rainworth manager) and has gone to join him. But I hope that our players can recognise the targets we are setting for the club and will stick with us to help us to achieve those aims.”