RAINWORTH MW will go into Saturday’s Evo-Stik NPL Division One South match with a point to prove on two fronts – to visitors Mickleover Sports and to the league in general.
The Wrens were grateful to keep a clean sheet to earn a point at Loughborough Dynamo last weekend and end a three match losing sequence in the league, with no goals scored during their last four matches.
And, earlier in the season at Mickleover’s Raygar Stadium they totally outplayed the home side but failed to turn their overwhelming superiority into any goals and ended up losing 1-0.
It’s not that the Wrens are incapable of scoring – they did, after all, put six past leaders Coolville Town in a Doodson Sport Cup tie last week – but their magic touch seems to have deserted them in the league recent weeks.
And, with only a small current squad available, manager Kevin Gee’s options for change are severely restricted.
It is a situation that Gee has been working night and day to attempt to resolve, but at the same time he is hopeful that the win at Coalville and the draw at Loughborough will be the springboard for another extended unbeaten run similar to that which catapulted them briefly into the play-off zone a few short weeks ago.
Gee said: “A win and a draw on away grounds is something I have to be happy with in our situation, but we desperately need to get more bodies in.
“We were a bit off the pace in the first half at Loughborough but in the second half we got in among them, passed the ball around well as we do, and dominated the 45 minutes. Unfortunately we couldn’t break our goals duck even with the aid of a penalty, but fair play to Jared Holmes, he was up for taking it and on another day would probably have scored.
“Earlier on we had looked a bit leg-weary after putting a good shift in at Coalville including extra time, but if we can go on picking single points away and adding home wins to the formula we will be comfortable.”
A couple of triallists have trained with the Wrens during the week and both may figure in some capacity against Mickleover on Saturday, as Gee attempts to bolster his squad and at the same time add more sharpness to his front line, but it has been a frustrating time for him on that front.
He added: “Last week I thought I’d got two – one initially said he was interested in coming but then changed his mind and the other also decided to go elsewhere.
“The problem seems to be that some players don’t really know what we are about – we are still establishing ourselves at this level after two seasons of struggle following our promotion. We are not yet seen as one of the ‘traditional’ Northern Premier clubs and goalscorers cost money, so some established players may turn their noses up at us. But if we can get one proven marksman in it may spark things for others to follow, and make people realise that our money is as good as anyone else’s.
“Nevertheless we don’t give up. I’m still working on a couple of tried and tested players at this level. Our midfield is as good as any in the division, we are competing on equal terms with the best clubs in our league, and we have reached the stage where our fans expect us to win and are disappointed when we don’t, which shows how far we’ve come.
“I’m personally very much a ‘glass half full’ person. We’ve gone two unbeaten, and when you look at it one way we’ve only lost three in our last 12 matches, so we are looking to get another substantial run going again.”