RAINWORTH MW manager Kevin Gee has warned his players not to read too much into Quorn’s 8-0 home defeat by Carlton Town last weekend.
The Wrens go head to head with the bottom-placed North Leicestershire outfit in an Evo-Stik NPL Division One South relegation showdown, but Gee is more concerned about the mental attitude of his own troops than any backlash from Lawrie Dudfield’s side.
Rainworth will certainly have a point to prove, having lost 3-2 at Quorn earlier in the season after taking a 2-0 lead in a performance which played a big part in the decision to change managers.
The Wrens have tasted no competitive action for a fortnight, but have filled the gap with two friendlies, drawing 1-1 with Mansfield Town Reserves last Saturday and beating Premier Division visitors Matlock Town 3-2 on Tuesday night.
Gee felt that his side had performed much better in these two games with the weight of pressure off them.
He said: “We have taken plenty of positives from both friendlies, but the Quorn match is a massive one for both sides.
“We didn’t handle the pressure well in our last league game at Shepshed, and it’s important that we do better on Saturday in this respect.
“Don’t read too much into Quorn’s result last weekend. They will not have expected anything from that game and what will matter to Lawrie will be what Quorn do against the clubs within touching distance of them, like us.
“There are still seven or eight clubs very much in danger, and the ones who avoid the drop will be those who best handle the weight of pressure in these games.”
Although Quorn suffered a heavy defeat last weekend, the two other clubs who went into the afternoon behind the Wrens in the league, Market Drayton and Shepshed, both won, Drayton leapfrogging Rainworth and pushing them down to just one place above the drop zone, while Dynamo’s victory cut the gap on the bottom two from seven to four points.
But other results brought Brigg Town and Romulus more into the mix at the lower end of the table so, with 14 league games to do, there remains everything to play for.
Friendlies can have their down side, and Mansfield’s Rhys Day, playing his first game after a long lay-off, suffered another bad injury, while Rainworth lost Danny Bacon early on against the Stags, and Nathan Adams and Mark Camm were both also withdrawn as precautionary measures.
Meanwhile goalkeeper Alessandro Barcherini suffered concussion after taking a knock in the first half against Matlock, and although he soldiered on until half time he was withdrawn at half time, with Stuart King drawing the ‘short straw’ and going in goal.
On the plus side, Matt Glass got 45 minutes under his belt against Matlock, and long term injury victim Danny Simpson also figured in both games.
Gee added: “Danny Bacon’s injury was not as severe as first thought and he should figure against Quorn, as should Ali.
“It was also good to be able to use the Matlock game to have a look at young Liam Theakstone out of the reserves.
“He did terrifically well when he came on and played a big part in setting up the winning goal. We have a very young reserve side that will develop, and it’s nice to be able to give players like Liam a chance so that the reserves can see that there is an end product to what they are striving to achieve.
“Stuart did well when he went in goal, but the goal he conceded, although not his fault, was a sloppy one down to a free header from a corner.
“But it was good to achieve a positive result which kept our unbeaten momentum going.”
Rainworth will be without striker Ant Lynam who misses three matches after being sent off while turning our for Midland Regional Alliance side Ashover.
Meanwhile on Tuesday Rainworth will begin their Notts Senior Cup campaign with a potential banana skin of a trip to Central Midlands South high fliers Basford United.
The Millboys may play three levels below Rainworth, but they have lost only once so far in their debut CML season.
Although retaining their Evo-Stik NPL status remains the Wrens’ first priority, the Senior Cup represents the club’s only remaining hope of silverware this season, so it is one that they are unlikely to take lightly.