Rainworth MW fans could be forgiven for thinking their favourites had killed a robin following a double whammy over the weekend.
First, the Evo-Stik NPL Division One South club saw top new signing Emeka Nwadike’s debut against Tividale last just seven minutes before a facial injury saw him take no further part in the game.
That threw the Wrens’ game plan out of the window, and they went on to suffer a 2-1 home defeat.
Then, as if that wasn’t enough, and as reported earlier this week, chairman Mark Hawkins tendered his resignation, citing pressure of work along with his duty as a dad to watch his son Jack turning out for Worksop Town. Secretary Les Lee has stepped into the role of acting chairman for the time being.
It is on top of these setbacks that Rainworth will go into a massively important four days, beginning on Saturday with a visit to basement club Kidsgrove Athletic, and that is followed on Tuesday by the start of their Notts Senior Cup campaign at home to East Midlands Counties League Kimberley MW.
Speaking after Saturday’s game, and ahead of Mr Hawkins’ resignation, joint manager John Knapper said: “It just seems that nothing is going right for us at the moment.
“Emeka’s injury so early in the game was a big turning point. He is the man we have brought in to take command of the midfield and provide some quality service to the front players, and we never really managed to regroup afterwards.
“He left the field with a bleeding nose and a closed eye, and we’ll have to wait and see whether he is fit for the big games to come.”
Looking forward, Rainworth will be aware of the change of management at Kidsgrove, and the probability that they will begin to climb the table, so nothing at all will be read into their current league placing.
Meanwhile, club officials are eager to put the memory of last season’s 6-2 Notts Senior Cup humiliation at the hands of Evo-Stik League rivals Carlton Town behind them by going all out to lift the trophy this season.
Henry Sibenge, who joined the Wrens from Kimberley, has fortunately not cup-tied himself in the earlier rounds, and should be available to face his former club.
Kimberley have made an excellent start to their first season at Step 6 following their step up from the Nottinghamshire Senior League in the summer, and even with home advantage the Wrens management will take nothing for granted.
So the outcome of the next two games have the potential to define the rest of the Wrens’ season. Two positive results will see the club going into the second half of the campaign in good heart, Managers John Knapper and Ian Robinson will demand nothing less - and neither, realistically, will their supporters.