Craig Priest looks ahead to tonight’s trip to nearby Rainworth MW...
What is they say, there’s no rest for the wicked? That’s certainly true as tonight we’re off out again for the second Stags game in as many days, we love it! It’s another well known saying (or TV theme tune) that springs to mind for this game though – ‘Everybody needs good neighbours, everybody needs good friends’.
It’s fair to say that the Wrens fall into this category as last year, during those torrid months when we thought the dark lord would never release our true home from his grip, the offered us a solution. I hate politics in football and will not go into the whole story again, all I can say is a huge thank you to Rainworth and there officials for offering a ground share in the event we needed to leave Field Mill and get the required ground lease for promotion.
It’s because of this kind nature that it’s only right the two clubs maintain a link, a pre-season friendly comes naturally with that, helping Rainworth get some more people through the turnstiles and of course, money in the coffers. That link may extend to sending younger players (Scott Rogers et all) out on loan for zero cost and much more down the years, for instance last year that avenue was explored as Adam Somes and Joel Holland both enjoyed a short loan spell with the Wrens, the former more successfully as on his debut he ended a 457 minute long goal drought for the wrens.
The link may extend further this year as our youth team need a pitch to play on with the reserves getting the One Call Stadium pitch priority as both sides play on the same day. Of course Rainworth will be hoping for a full strength Stags side tonight which Paul Cox did originally promise, however last night he told me it would be a very youthful side taking on the Wrens due to numerous injuries and illness’ which saw a trip to Stourbridge fall by the wayside. Naturally the Wrens will be disappointed however I think the link between the two and general gifts of thanks on our part will come in different ways, with the season’s curtain raiser fast approaching we need to protect our squad from injuries and exhaustion and look at which games will be of more benefit to us – it’s a selfish trait but sometimes you have to look at the bigger picture.
It will still be a good game to watch and a good test for the Wrens, our young guns are no pushovers as they themselves prepare for a second season in the football conference Youth Alliance North – looking to improve on that fourth placed finish.
I spent last season following the fortunes of the newly reformed academy side as they debuted in the Football Conference Youth Alliance North division. Despite leading the table for the majority of the season, a late slip up saw an eventual fourth placed finish, six points shy of the title. However despite the late slip there were encouraging signs throughout in terms of player development and tonight’s match at Rainworth will be the perfect blend of comfort of the youth league pitches and competitiveness at a more senior level.
It was a relegation battle last term for the Wrens but in the end they survived comfortably, boss Kevin Gee will be looking to improve on that this season as the Kirklington Road based side look for a higher placed finish and ultimately promotion, adding former Stags players Callum Lloyd and striker Ian Holmes to his side in the close season, the club now has a few more faces with higher league, and particularly with those two, football league experience.
It will be a good opportunity tonight to see some of the young guns in action and in turn, for those players to stake a claim for a reserve team call as Paul Cox watches on looking for standout performers and players he can progress through the academy and reserve system – a trait he’s keen on using to full affect this term.
Despite it being a youth team encounter we will still be providing coverage as per – full match commentary follows build up from 7pm via our MM-LIVE Page – Kick off is 7.30pm
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