MANAGER Kevin Gee has urged Rainworth MW fans to accept a dose of reality after two defeats in five days put paid to the Wrens’ seven-match unbeaten run.
That successful sequence of four wins and three draws lifted the Wrens into the dizzy heights of the Play-off zone in Evo-Stik NPL Division One South, but such is the tight nature of the division that those two defeats have plummeted them back down to mid-table ahead of Saturday’s home game against first time visitors Chasetown.
Ever the realist, Gee said: “I know the transition that the club is currently undergoing can sometimes be difficult to assess by some of our fantastic hardcore fans and committee members.
“Our secretary, Les Lee, told me only this week that he thought it was harder being in the top half, with all the expectation and constantly checking league tables rather than knowing that you are in another relegation battle, and yes, it can seem like a rollercoaster ride.
“But from my perspective it’s just about putting in place the infrastructure to be more competitive in this league which will then benefit the club long term.
“The objective this year from the outset was to reach mid-table, and we worked hard in the summer to raise additional funds to be able to try and support a stronger bench to make impacts in the latter stages of games which we achieved.
“This year was also about profiling the football club within the Northern Premier League. Off the field we have always received plaudits from all member clubs for the way we act, but being realistic, up to this season we have not caused other clubs any thoughts of threats on the field.
“With the bit of success we’ve had early doors we’ve probably caught a few teams off guard, but certainly in the last two we have to compliment both Stamford and Gresley who have done their homework and caused us a few problems – however, that certainly doesn’t mean we are on a downward spiral.
“This league is very strong this year and we are currently ninth in the division with three games to go to the half way turn around, so as things stand we are well above our target for year end. But sustaining that gets harder, with the respect that our current group of players have given to our club.”
He added: “So this is now where we all have to stick together as a club and look at our next realistic targets by the turn of the year, as we are also potentially five wins from safety, and two points behind Carlton and Belper who have been there or thereabouts for a number of years in this Division.
“So if we could achieve those five wins by the turn of the year that would be fantastic.
“We train and prepare to win every game and, with seven wins, three draws and eight defeats we are certainly heading in the right direction.
“Yes, we need to strengthen a little bit in certain areas and we are certainly attracting a lot of interest from players wanting to come to the club, but we won’t break our budget structure to accommodate them.
“I’ve been in the game long enough to know that you can sometimes buy success, but if you go down that route you can’t sustain it.
“Rainworth is a fantastic football club to involved in, but the club is nowhere near ready for the dizzy heights of the Premier Division or a play-off position.
“That does not mean we cannot have aspirations to get there in due course, and having spoken on this theme to the chairman (Kim Wright) we both feel it would be nice to at least have a go.
“We cannot compete financially with a lot of clubs in the division, which we have to accept, but money doesn’t guarantee you success either, and at the end of every season there will only be two successful budgets.
“Boards will meet to discuss whether their season has been a success, but as far as we are concerned after 18 games it has already been successful.
“So let’s enjoy the next 24 league games, hopefully have a good run in the Notts Senior Cup this year and, who knows, we might even pull off a shock at Coalville in the Doodson Sport League Cup.”
By the time the Wrens travel to Owen Street for the League Cup tie next Tuesday, Gee hopes to have new boy Dan White fit and available.
Gee successfully beaten off competition from a number of other clubs to secure the signing of the experienced Belper Town defender.
White (32) had teamed back up with his former Retford United manager Peter Duffield from Sheffield in March 2011.
He had earlier made more than 100 appearances for Retford, helping them to the Northern Premier Division One title under Duffield’s charge. He has also featured with Ilkeston Town, Ashton United and Buxton.
Declaring himself delighted with the signing, Gee said: “ When I heard that Dan was leaving Belper we put in seven days notice of approach and, after a lengthy conversation, I’m delighted that he has decided to join us.
“Dan is well short by his own admission in terms of general match fitness, but hopefully he’ll soon be ready to come into a squad where we already have good competition for places defensively.
“We have a lot of defenders now at the club, who all bring different things to the table, but we know that we are probably conceding too many goals from set plays, which we are working hard to rectify on the training ground.”
White figured as an unused substitute in the Wrens’ depleted squad which lost 3-0 at Gresley on Saturday.
Meanwhile, goalkeeper Alessandro Barcherini has now recovered from his eye operation, and went on loan to Retford United over the weekend to play for them against Scarborough as he seeks to regain match fitness, while ‘hot property’ Blair Anderson underwent trials with Barnsley last week.
Meanwhile, Rainworth will be hoping to settle a score with Chasetown on Saturday.
The only previous meeting was at the Scholars’ ground in the third qualifying round of the FA Cup in 2007, when the then Southern League club won 2-0 in what Rainworth fans insisted were controversial circumstances.
The Wrens were the lowest-ranked club still left in the competition at the time.
Already renowned cup fighters, the Scholars subsequently went on to defeat Port Vale before falling to eventual finalists Cardiff City in the third round proper.