EVO-STIK NPL Division One South Rainworth MW are hoping to avoid a bout of travel sickness as they embark on a run of five successive away games on Wednesday night.
But manager Kevin Gee believes his troops’ freedom from the weight of expectation of the home fans will have a positive effect.
Despite a crucial midweek victory over Quorn lifting some of the relegation worries there were still signs of tension in Saturday’s goalless home draw with Brigg Town.
But the Wrens will not be at home again until 31st March when Kidsgrove Athletic visit Kirklington Road.
Before that they have a Notts Senior Cup quarter-final tie at Carlton Town on Wednesday, followed by difficult league trips to Ilkeston on Saturday, then Coalville Town and Newcastle Town.
Speaking after Saturday’s match, Gee said: “A run of away games can take a bit of the pressure of expectancy , we can go into the games more relaxed, home teams are more likely to come at us and leave us a bit more space.
“Today Brigg played with one man up front and were as hard to break down as we have been. It was a solid but flat performance from us, and while I couldn’t see Brigg scoring, neither did we look likely.
But the point gained put us one more clear of the bottom two, so we keep going.”
With Stephen Akers, Rob Gill and Nathan Adams all injured and Ant Lynam still suspended, Gee’s options up front were limited, so he moved Danny Bacon forward from midfield to the position where he will be best remembered by fans of Mansfield, Hucknall, Harrogate Town and others.
Gee continued: “I moved Danny up front to take some of the pressure off the other strikers, but while we are not scoring goals we have to play a certain way to stay competitive.
“That can be frustrating for the supporters, and while it’s my job to bring in front men who will get us goals, until then we have to play in a way which enables us to take something out of games.”
Looking forward to Wednesday’s local derby at Carlton in the Senior Cup, Gee insists he is going there to try to win it and is not relegating the competition to second-best.
He said: “It’s a one-off, a local derby, we’ve nothing to lose and there is a semi-final place at stake. Carlton have gone off the boil a little lately, but most would expect them to win, so we’ll give it a go, and the side I choose for the match will reflect that. They know they will find it hard to break us down, but we can only win if we score goals – but no, we haven’t been practising penalties in readiness for a shoot-out!”
Which ever way that tie goes, the Wrens will follow it up on Saturday with a trip to Ilkeston, who won 4-0 at Rainworth in Gee’s first match in charge – which was to all intents and purposes his initial assessment of what needed to be done.
“Ilkeston are probably cementing runners-up spot just now,” added Gee. “Grantham are the most consistent team in the league and the title is now for them to lose, so Ilkeston will be looking for runners-up to give themselves the best position in readiness for the Play-offs.
“Again everyone will expect us to get beaten, which in itself lifts that pressure of expectation off our shoulders, and if we can come away from there with a point I’ll be delighted.
“I still believe we need a couple of wins in our remaining nine league games to make us really safe. As things stand now Shepshed and Quorn still have a huge task to catch us, especially with games now starting to run out, but my aim when I took the job was to keep us up, and I said then that 40 points would do that.
“I still believe that, but it would be nice to chalk up a couple more and give ourselves that bit more breathing space.”