Wrens making progress says manager Rickards

Rainworth MW v Shirebrook pre-season action.
Rainworth MW v Shirebrook pre-season action.

Manager Scott Rickards has declared himself ‘reasonably satisfied’ by the progress that Rainworth MW have made after their first two pre-season matches.

The Evo-Stik League Division One South club lost to a single goal at home to Shirebrook Town on Saturday, but turned the tables to see off Teversal 3-1 on Tuesday night.

Rickards was pleased, not so much by Tuesday’s result, but more by the way the performance hung together so much better than it had in the first game.

The Wrens’ player-manager, while paying tribute to last season’s assistant boss Matty Clarke, says the club can only benefit by the arrival of former Sutton Town manager Dean Short as his number two.

And both are ready to rise to the challenge of keeping the club competitive in the Evo-Stik League despite a very tight budget.

Speaking after Tuesday night’s victory, Rickards said: “We have put the emphasis on arranging friendlies against local clubs who, despite playing lower down the scale, will want to come here and put one over on us, which means that we have to raise our own game against them.

“Saturday’s result was not important. It was our first outing and it was more about looking at how the personnel that Dean and I have assembled are working together and taking on board the shape we intend to adopt this season.

“And tonight’s work out was an improvement on Saturday’s, as we would hope for and expect. There were times when we allowed Teversal to have a bit more of the game than we would have wished, but we were in control pretty much from start to finish.

“You can always find areas of concern where you feel the need to strengthen, and we know where those are, but one of the problems of recruiting for a club like ours is that there are teams in the area who may be below us in league status but who are in a position to offer more in the way of financial inducement to players.

“We have talked to players who already have three or four offers on the table which we can’t match without breaking the budget.

“We lost five or six last season to clubs paying more, and there is nothing that we can do about that as a club. We have a firm budget in place and have to stick to it or finish up like one or two other well documented cases in the area.

“That is why Dean Short’s appointment was such a key one for us. Last season Matty Clarke and I had a great working relationship, but neither of us live locally and so we were short on local knowledge of available players.

“Dean brings with him that local knowledge. He has a good contacts list of players and managers in the area and beyond, and he has brought in some decent players for us to have a look at and see how we can develop them. He is the right man for the club and for me, someone who I can work with while I continue to play.

“As Dean said when he was appointed, we have the same philosophies and ideals, and are 100 per cent in agreement about what we need to remain competitive at this level.

“We have a clear understanding and a blueprint of what we want to achieve with Rainworth, and we are looking to the players to buy into that.”

The Wrens have two more home friendlies this week. Tomorrow (Saturday, 3pm) newly-promoted NCEL Division One club AFC Mansfield visit Kirklington Road, while Worksop Town are at the ‘Wrens’ Nest’ on Tuesday in a match which could be a rehearsal for an FA Cup preliminary round tie if the Tigers progress at Staveley in the extra preliminary.