EVO-STIK NPL Division One South club Rainworth MW are currently sitting out a 10-day period of on-field inactivity, but there is no let-up for manager Kev Gee.
Gee is striving to strengthen his squad for the run-in to the season’s end ahead of the 31st March deadline, after a frustrating week in the transfer market prior to Saturday’s 2-0 defeat at Ilkeston.
And he has this week secured the signatures of two ex-Wrens who have returned to the fold, following something of a trend of ex-players coming back to the club.
Goalkeeper Joe McCormack has returned to Kirklington Road from Leek Town, for whom he departed in December, while versatile Jermain Hollis has put pen to paper for his third stint with the Wrens, having re-signed from Shepshed Dynamo.
McCormack, rated by many as among the best goalkeepers in the division, is a former Mansfield Town and Coventry City youngster who has experience with Alfreton Town and initially joined at the start of the current campaign. He was tempted by Leek’s offer which would have been very difficult to refuse, but admitted that he had been finding the travelling difficult and added: “I’ve missed the lads while I’ve been away and I’m delighted to be back.”
Hollis initially joined the Wrens from Gresley Rovers in the summer of 2008, but left to try his luck with Eastwood Town in the Conference North at the start of last season, soon returned, but then moved on to Carlton Town, from where he went via Hucknall Town to Shepshed.
But the frustrations continued for Gee as his bid for a Conference North standard striker was gazumped by another relegation-threatened club clearly throwing money at their own survival bid.
Speaking after Saturday’s match at Ilkeston, Gee said: “I’ve spoken to about 20 different managers about 20 different players this week. Our budget is what it is, but with 10 days of more activity ahead of our next game at Coalville next Tuesday I’m sure there will be one or two new faces.
“It’s important that we maintain the strength of the group and ensure we have what we need for the remaining eight matches, and it’s good that we are getting players back from injury, with Stepen Akers and Nathan Adams on the bench today.”
It was a day of mixed emotions for the Wrens boss. Reflecting on the game, he added: “The players are down after the defeat, because they did well enough to get something out of the game.
“Everyone did the job he was given to do, which made it for me probably our best performance since I took charge. So I’m delighted by that but gutted that we got no reward.
“Kevin (Ilkeston manager Kevin Wilson) was ranting and raving at his team at half time, which was really a credit to our players, and it’s just frustrating that we came away with nothing.
“They didn’t have many chances, and we had a great one early on when Danny Bacon hit the bar and Niall O’Rafferty was too high with the follow-up. A goal then makes it a different game.
“You could say it was poor defending that allowed Ilkeston to score just before half time, but it was a good move and a good header from Daryll Thomas.
“As for the penalty, I’m not convinced it would have been given if it had been at the other end. But you are playing in front of about 450 home supporters, the ball stops dead, they appeal and the referee reacts, which is how it goes.
“But we’ve played and competed against a very good side. We’re still eight points clear of the bottom two and I’m sure that if we go on playing like that we will pick up points in the remaining eight games.
“The players we left out were obviously disappointed, but the most important thing for me is that the players I have asked to play have done their jobs well.”
The Wrens are next in action in a re-arranged fixture at Coalville Town on Tuesday, 20th March (7.45pm).