Wrens ready for 3G challenge

Rainworth MW v Kidsgrove Athletic.
Rainworth MW v Kidsgrove Athletic.

Manager Scott Rickards returns to his native town of Sutton Coldfield on Saturday looking for his Rainworth MW charges to extend their unbeaten run in the Evo-Stik NPL Division One South to four matches when they visit Romulus.

The Roms groundshare the 3G pitch at Coles Lane where Rickards spent some time with landlord club Sutton Coldfield Town, and he is well aware of the pitfalls facing visiting clubs on the unfamiliar surface.

Last season Rainworth completed a league double over Romulus but lost 2-0 there in the FA Trophy as well as crashing 5-1 to Sutton Coldfield on the 3G pitch.

The Wrens have recently returned to the local Joseph Whitaker School’s 3G facility for one of their twice-weekly training sessions, and Rickards believes the experience of training on that surface will stand them in good stead ahead of the visit.

Romulus struggled to make an impact on the division for much of last season and, prior to Hucknall Town’s catastrophic financial difficulties, were looking like possible relegation candidates.

But they made a flying start to the current campaign and, although they have fallen away a little since then, they are still a top half of the table side, and Rickards knows his men will have their work cut out if they are to have any chance of putting together an extended unbeaten sequence.

Rickards said: “Having spent some time at Sutton Coldfield I know the place well, and know Romulus well too, in fact my assistant Matt Clarke is good friends with Romulus’ assistant manager.

“The surface will make it a different contest and we will play to the conditions and adapt our game to suit it. We’ve started doing some training on 3G so the boys are getting used to that sort of surface.

“When you are on that surface three times a week as Sutton and Romulus are it can give them a built in advantage over teams who are less used to it.

“I’ve watched Romulus a couple of times this year and they have some good players - they are very strong and very well organised so they will be good opposition.

“But on the day, if I look at what we have in our changing room, we should have enough to come away with a good result.”

Last weekend the Wrens made it three games unbeaten, but Rickards acknowledged that they made hard work of beating struggling Kidsgrove Athletic 2-1.

He continued: “When you look at the game broken down into the two halves, then by half-time we maybe should have been two or three goals up.

“But every game will have periods when the opposition take the upper hand, and yes, in certain areas we were fortunate to come away with all three points, but you have to ride your luck in this league and take advantage when teams make chances but don’t punish you.”