Rainworth MW will have a third go at completing their first Evo-Stik League Division One South double of the season on Saturday, when Loughborough Dynamo visit Kirklington Road.
The Leicestershire club’s manager Tommy Brookbanks has a long-standing friendly rivalry with Rainworth from his playing days in the old Notts Alliance of the 1980s and 1990s, when the Wrens generally tended to come out on top, so he always looks forward to his visits to Kirklington Road where he was always respected by long-standing Wrens fans as a worthy opponent, and he relishes the chance to settle those old scores as an added personal bonus.
The two sides have already met twice this season, both at Dynamo’s Nanpantan Sports Ground, with Rainworth coming out on top in the league but Loughborough succeeding in the Doodson Sport Cup.
Rainworth will also be looking to launch another unbeaten run in the league after they paid the price for being rather too gung-ho at Romulus last weekend.
Having suffered a nightmare first half there the Wrens pulled back a two-goal deficit, but in then going all out to win it they left themselves too exposed at the back and the Roms capitalised with two very late goals.
Rainworth did make progress, though, in the Notts Senior Cup on Tuesday, but had to be patient before two second half goals sank Central Midlands League visitors Bulwell to book their place in the quarter-final (picture above).
Rainworth have targeted the Senior Cup as a competition to be won this season, so Rickards was both delighted to have seen off a physical side and relieved to have avoided a potential embarrassment.
Reflecting on the tie, and also on the defeat at Romulus, he said: “The cup tie was a tough game against a strong team regardless of their level, we knew what to expect from them and that if we matched their physicality our quality would shine through in the end.
“So we are delighted to be into the quarter-final, but our primary focus is now back with the league, and getting another unbeaten run going after the disappointment of fighting back so well at Romulus last Saturday only to lose it in the last five minutes.
“We had worked so hard to get ourselves back into a game where we had more or less gifted them a two goal lead. It wasn’t so much that they had carved us open in the first half, it was down more to our own mistakes.
“It took us far too long to adapt to the surface, we under-performed, and that was reflected in the scoreline at half time. But once we had got ourselves back into the game we looked the more likely winners.
“So were we a little naive in going all out for the winner rather than accepting a point away from home? Well, that’s down to opinions.”
Looking forward to Saturday’s game against Loughborough, Rickards added: “I know a fair bit about them, I’ve played against them a few times, and this season we’ve been there twice already, winning in the league but losing in the Doodson Sport Cup.
“They are a good footballing team, and they will look to come here and give us a tough game, so it won’t be anything like Tuesday’s cup tie, it will be a bit more tactical and technical, but that should not be a problem for us.
“If our own mindset is right and we defend as well as we are capable then we won’t give sloppy goals away, we won’t give teams a head start, and we won’t give them the chance to beat us, because we have shown that we are capable of scoring goals.”