Hucknall Town boss Andy Graves took a lot of satisfaction from seeing his charges under-perform in their Central Midlands League South opener on Saturday, but still manage to reel off a 3-0 home win over Collingham.
He also feels that being without a fixture this weekend could freshen his side up and give his players a timely boost.
On Saturday’s win, he said: “To be honest we were a little bit anxious at times and nervy, especially in the first half, which I ‘quietly’ pointed out at half-time was probably our worst since we came back based on our Pre-season games.
“Credit to the lads, though. They listened to both Phil and myself and the second half saw an improvement and we know we can raise our game significantly.
“So in the grand scheme of things we should be happy to get off to a winning start, but cautiously, as one swallow does not make a Spring and we will need to work harder over the long season ahead.
“The main thing was getting the three points which we did. We had got a couple of players still unable to play through holiday and work, which is normal at this time of year, and we should get a bit stronger as we progress.”
He added: “It is a shame there is no game this Saturday due to how the fixtures have fallen, but we will give a couple of players an outing with the reserves.
“But not playing this weekend may do us a bit of good. We had quite a tough pre-season, probably tougher than a lot of teams. So this may freshen us back up again.
“We trained last night and we will train again next Wednesday ready for a week on Saturday.
“Collingham are a good young side. So we were just pleased to get a win and avoid any more injuries. We have one or two niggling ones and two out long term.”
Hucknall drew a decent opening day attendance, which also pleased Graves, who said: “It was a good crowd for us with over 100 there. People are still on their holidays or didn’t know who Collingham actually were.
“Collingham didn’t bring many with them so I was quite happy with the crowd. I hope we can continue to build on that number.
“The good thing is that we know we can play a lot better than that. That’s the main thing. If you can win a bit ugly sometimes, that’s a good thing as well.
“We probably should have scored three or four more but we didn’t take our chances. They probably fell to the wrong people. But at least we are creating them, which is a positive.
“There is a lot of expectation here and we have got to learn to handle it. That’s my job – to keep our feet on the floor and not get carried away. We have got to earn the right to play every game.
“I am probably a bit more critical than most. I know we played very, very well in pre-season against some very good sides from three levels higher. We did exceptionally well.”