Rainworth Miners’ Welfare manager Craig Denton says he can’t wait to face his old club Worksop Town at Kirklington Road on Saturday.
Denton’s Wrens go into the Toolstation NCEL Premier Division match on the back of a very creditable 2-0 defeat at the hands of a strong League Two Mansfield Town side on Tuesday night, when both goals were scored within the space of a minute just after midway through the first half.
That match was the result of a promise made by Stags boss Steve Evans to send a first team squad to Rainworth for a friendly after having to field a youth side in a pre-season game.
The Wrens were last in league action last Saturday when a late fightback was not quite enough to end unbeaten league leaders Pickering Town’s 100 per cent home record.
Speaking to Radio Mansfield’s Jason Harrison following the Stags game, Denton said: “For us the game was all about how we deal with spells when we are out of possession, how we preserve our discipline as a unit, and how we avoid conceding set pieces, and I think we came out of the game with a lot of credit.
“At Pickering we found ourselves 3-0 down but got it back to 3-2 before unfortunately running out of both time and a bit of steam.
“But those two matches have served to show how far we have come, and although ideally I would like to see us in the top six or eight at the end of the season, I’m not at all unhappy with our present mid-table placing.
“There are some very big clubs paying out a lot of money compared to us, but if we can achieve that little bit more consistency we have it in us to get to where I would want us to be.”
He added: “Since taking the job here in the close season my aims have been to concentrate on performances, on getting things right, and at looking at where we need to improve.
“We recruited well on our budget in pre-season, we’ve added to the squad, the lads are gelling, and while Tuesday’s game against Football League opponents highlighted a few things we still need to work on, overall I was very pleased by what we did.
“When I was offered the job here both I and the committee knew it wasn’t going to happen overnight.
“It was about putting the structures in place, bringing in the right calibre of player, and maintaining the right attitude, and I think we’ve done that. But it’s baby steps forward.”
Looking forward to Saturday, Denton admitted that there was a personal element to it for him.
He continued: “We will have our work cut out to live with Worksop.
“Ryan Hindley has got them playing very well just now, they are picking up some very good results, and we know that they will present a really good test for us. But if we perform to Tuesday’s level I do believe we can take something from the game.
“Yes, of course I feel I have something to prove to Worksop. “Having been assistant manager there to Jon when the club had to cut their budget and some players moved on, it became all about steadying the ship, which I think we managed to do.
“But moving here to Rainworth, admittedly a club with rather less in the way of resources, has given me the chance to start again at a club which, facing facts, under-achieved last year.
“Bringing in my own players to work with is what I wanted and what I’ve got here.
“Worksop Town will always have a part of my heart, but I would still love to take the three points off them on Saturday.
“There will be a cauldron of noise from the away supporters - they demand and expect the best, given their tradition and history - but that will give my players a huge lift too.
“They know full well that we will be heavily outnumbered in terms of support, but they will look around, see a large crowd as they did on Tuesday night, that will spur them on.
“If they respond in the same manner as they responded against Mansfield then I think the fans of both sides will have a very good game to enjoy and I, for one, am looking forward to it very much.”