Watts keeping feet on the ground after big wins

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Manager Julian Watts is refusing to get carried away by successive high-scoring wins for Rainworth MW.

The Wrens followed up their midweek 6-0 thumping of Armthorpe Welfare by racing to a 7-1 victory against Liversedge on Saturday.

But Watts says that while his team have the capability to figure in the top six, next season is really where he is targeting success for the Kirklington Road club.

Speaking after the Liversedge game, Watts told Mansfield 103.2 Sport’s Terry Hayes: “It’s really all about building for next season.

“Yes, we are doing well at present, and I said last week that we are below where I want us to be, which is in the top six and looking to nudge into the top four.

“But we had to start from scratch this season. If we can get a squad like this together now, and bring them back next year after a season together, then next August we will hit the ground running, which we haven’t done this year. Our form and our team selection have been inconsistent which is down to injuries, people being away etc, but now it’s starting to come together.

“We are going to come up against better sides than we’ve played in the last few games, and you have to remember that Liversedge had five or six players missing, so it will become harder for us against some of the stronger teams in the division.”

Despite the current run of success, with five wins in the last six, Watts re-iterated his desire to strengthen the squad further, but added: “I did say last week that I was looking to bring in one or two more players, and sometimes you have to say things to gee the lads up a bit. We’ve now got the players that fit into the pattern that we established in pre-season, but we do need to strengthen the overall squad.

“Players like Declan Brewin and goalkeeper Sam Leigh have made a big difference, but I’ve spoken to the players and told them that it’s about sticking together as a team, and also about being patient. You can’t do anything in this league with a squad of 11-13 players, you need 15 or 16, and that means not everyone can play.

“That’s hard for those not getting a start because all they want to do is play football on a Saturday afternoon. But in the last three games we’re looking as if it’s coming together.

“Declan Brewin is a case in point. I don’t think he had scored for AFC Mansfield this season, he’d been getting 15 minutes here and there, and yet here, a division higher, he’s come in, made a good substitute appearance at Bridlington, and then in the next game there was an opening for him, he’s put in two great performances and got goals in both, and at still only 18 I wonder what he really is capable of achieving. If we improve him and he improves us I can’t ask for more than that.”

This weekend the Wrens travel to Pontefract looking to carry on their recent impressive form, and they will need to do so if they are to avoid conceding their first league double of the season after Pontefract won 1-0 at Kirklington Road with a controversial second-half penalty during a bad run of results during September.

Looking forward to the trip, Watts concluded: “They are always a difficult team to beat, and although Liversedge beat them in a County Cup game last week I did notice from the line-ups that Pontefract had several players missing. Like us they have been in a transitional stage with a change of manager and a few players coming and going.

“I didn’t get carried away when we were losing four on the bounce in September and I’m not getting carried away on the back of a couple of big wins. I simply concentrate on where we are as a team, where we are as a squad. I know what we’re good at, and where we need to improve.”