Rainworth assistant knows club face selection problems for season-opener at Garforth Town

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Assistant manager Ady Smith has admitted that he and boss Julian Watts will face selection problems when Rainworth MW kick off their NCEL campaign at Garforth Town on Saturday week.

Following Tuesday night’s training session the Wrens had 29 players signed on, and Smith says there will be lots to think about before they head up the A1 in 10 days’ time.

He said: “The lads who have played the last few games have done really well, but some of the newer faces are likely to get a tryout against Heanor Town on Saturday, because competition for places is healthy for the club.”

Rainworth recorded their third successive 2-0 pre-season win against NCEL Division One outfit AFC Emley on Friday night thanks to goals towards the end of each half, by Lewis Bingham and youngster Cameron Mitchell - a result which left Smith with a smile on his face.

“It was quite a shock at the end of last season when they fell away after leading the league for most of the year,” he continued.

“But they had pretty much last season’s squad, so it was a good test for our lads and they passed it with flying colours, with two well-worked and well-taken goals - I couldn’t really have asked for any more.

“It was great to see Cameron Mitchell on the scoresheet - we want to inject a few more youngsters like him into the squad bit by bit. Players aged 16 or 17, if they are good enough, can actually get a squad place, and maybe come on and score a goal like that, so we are eager to get more young players in as we look to establish an U21 side for next season.”

Rainworth end their pre-season programme on Saturday (3pm) when they play host to Heanor Town, who made the switch from the NCEL to the Midland League during the close season, and it is likely to be the hardest test for the side since they lost to Mansfield Town in the Green Energy Cup in the first game of the build-up.

“This will represent the benchmark for the season,” said Smith. “They had a great start in this league last season, but lost a few players on the way and fell back a bit, but they have most of that starting squad back again to have another go at a promotion push, so it will be a big test. They are a quality side, and I want to see us give as good as we get.”

Meanwhile the club hold their annual meeting at the ground on Monday (7pm), and all supporters are welcome to attend.