RAINWORTH MW manager Kevin Gee has targeted Evo-Stik NPL Division One South safety by the turn of the year ahead of Saturday’s visit to Sutton Coldfield Town.
The Wrens will be visiting the Coles Lane artificial surface for the third time this year after two earlier matches against the Royals’ ground-sharers Romulus, and will be seeking their first league double of the current campaign, having beaten the Birmingham area side at home on the opening day of the season.
Prior to that occasion manager Gee rated the Royals as potential play-off candidates, and although they made a slow start they are now well up among the front runners.
Looking forward to the game, Gee said: “We have already played on their artificial surface twice and we train on one once a week, so we are not unused to it, but we know Sutton are a very good side indeed. We know, too, that they will not be making the mistake of under-estimating us.
“I know their manager well, and know that they are a physically strong and well organised side, but we are also now on a new run of three games unbeaten.”
Last Saturday’s 4-2 home victory over Mickleover Sports marked the halfway point of the season and, reflecting on that game and the Wrens’ season so far, Gee commented: “I think we should change our name to ‘The Entertainers’, because we are creating a lot of chances, and when we take those chances we tend to win matches.
“On Saturday we scored four times, but we needed to do so to win the game.
“The lads travelled up to Leeds for their Christmas party afterwards, and went in high spirits after the win. The togetherness within the club is fantastic and, although I had to make some tough decisions in terms of personnel, we’ve got a rock solid group. We still need to find a sharper cutting edge, so I’m still looking to strengthen the squad – but I want players who want to come and play for us and who will strengthen the team.”
Gee included one of two new signings in his squad for the Mickleover match following trials – forward Nshindano Chisango made his appearance from the bench having joined from Handsworth. But the other newcomer, Justin Jenkins from Shepshed Dynamo, was unavailable because of a family wedding, although he could figure in the squad at Sutton Coldfield.
Gee added: “We have a number of seven day notices in and I’m hopeful of recruiting at least one more before the weekend.
“At the midpoint of the season we are on 28 points, and if we can pick up the same tally during the second half of the season that will mean 56 - and for ‘little Rainworth’ at this stage in the club’s development that would be a massive total.
“Looking at it another way, I think we are now four wins from safety, so it would be nice to be able to pick up those four wins by the turn of the year.
“And, with the pressure off, another 10 on top of that would take us close to the play-offs. But we are realists, and our target this season was always to stabilise ourselves at our current level.
“I think next season will be our big one in terms of expectation levels, but high expectations come with success, and they are quite high even now among our small band supporters – I wish we had more, but all we can do is keep on with what we are doing and hope that the message eventually gets through to people.”
Following Saturday’s game Rainworth travel to struggling Division One North outfit Goole on Tuesday in the Doodson Sport Cup, and Gee insists that is another massive fixture.
He concluded: “We aren’t going to win the league, so the cups are important to us. We view the Notts Senior Cup as winnable, and success in the ‘Doodson’ could see us paired with a big Premier Division club.
“To be in two cups and in the top half of the table at the halfway point is terrific for our club.
“I’ve already mentioned expectation levels, and our supporters will expect us to keep that going.”