IT has been a hectic few days on the transfer front at Rainworth MW with two in and one out.
Out has gone central defender Tommy Hannigan, who has been lured to fellow Evo-Stik NPL Division One South strugglers Quorn, apparently for the prospect of more money.
But in are highly rated central midfielder Curtis Shaw, and versatile defender/midfielder Ryan Goward, both of whom made their debuts in Tuesday night’s 2-1 defeat by league leaders Grantham Tow, Goward marking his debut with a stunning goal.
Hannigan’s move has come as a shock. He left Kirklington Road for Belper during the close season, but returned in September, and was a regular member of the side.
Hannigan’s departure has not left any big gaps though, for the Wrens are well served by central defenders, with Lee Cooksey putting in a man of the match performance in Hannigan’s place on Tuesday night, and Romaine Graham and Adam Burton also in contention for a shirt.
Shaw put pen to paper on Monday, having cancelled his registration with Hucknall Town.
The 24-year-old was a product of Mansfield Town’s Academy and he has a handful of first team appearances for the Stags under his belt, as well as having figured with Conference Premier outfits Kidderminster Harriers and Tamworth plus Carlton Town and the former Ilkeston Town.
Goward has played for manager Kevin Gee before at Glapwell, from where, two years ago, he made one loan appearance for the then NCEL Wrens at Selby Town. He joins from fellow Division One South side Carlton Town.
Reflecting on the changes, manager Gee said: “It’s disappointing to lose Tommy to Quorn but you have to move on.
“We have a financial code which we stick to, and if other bottom teams want to shell out money on things like singing-on fees that’s up to them.
“On the in side, Ryan is a good, versatile player who can fill several positions, and while Curtis is lacking some match fitness I believe he will prove to be a great acquisition for us.
“We are still trying to bring in a striker to rectify our lack of goals, but a 20-goal man is probably outside our budget so we have to chip away and try to find players who want to come to us for the right reasons.”
Gee has set a goal of four points from the next two matches, at Loughborough Dynamo on Saturday and at home to Quorn on Tuesday evening.
Loughborough have been something of a surprise packet lately and have quietly stolen up to the edge of the Play-off zone.
But Rainworth tend to do well against the better teams, as evidenced by their performance, albeit in defeat, against Grantham on Tuesday night.
Gee went with a new 3-5-2 line-up in a bid to compete with the Gingerbreads, and by and large it worked well, but two lapses of concentration cost them.
Said Gee: “We worked hard, dug in to stay in the game, and played well when the chips were down.
“Unfortunately two mistakes cost us. For their first goal we didn’t pick up at the post and we gifted a simple tap in, and while there were question marks about whether it really was a free kick the fact was that we fell below our usual high standard of defending at that point.
For the second our keeper thought he could get to the ball, which seemed to be caught on the wind, and it’s sailed over him and into the net.
“But Ryan came up with a great goal and we were unlucky to have another one ruled out for offside, we got around the back of them on a number of occasions, created chances and competed against a very good side. So we must now look to take that into Loughborough on Saturday.
“Loughborough and Quorn will be tough games for different reasons. It’s easier to raise your game against the top sides,, but we have to do the same in all our remaining matches, wherever the opposition sit in the league.
“We have to do what we need to do to win games, and if we can take four points from these two matches it will take us that bit closer to safety.
“Defensively we still look very strong and have one of the best records in the division, and our destiny is in our own hands.
“Shepshed also lost so we are still five points above them and they have played a game more, but it will ease the pressure no end if we can put four points on the table from these two games, while if we can beat Quorn it will potentially give us an 11-point gap on them.
“It was a good performance against Grantham, but being realistic, in our current position I would rather we played badly and won than play well and lose because the league table only reflects results, not performances.”
On the injury front stiker Rob Gill, who pulled up with a hamstring injury in the warm-up for what should have been his debut, is expected to train and if he comes through it he could figure in the 16.
“Ant Lynam’s suspension is also completed and Nathan Adams is not far off ready again although he currently has a bit of a knee injury, so we have front players coming back, but it’s up to one or all of them to take responsibility and start scoring goals to match our defensive record.”