Welfare boss expects to rack up the points

Paul Rawden is keen to see points gathered in the new year that will put his side back in the top six of the East Midlands Counties League.
Paul Rawden is keen to see points gathered in the new year that will put his side back in the top six of the East Midlands Counties League.

Kimberley Miners Welfare manager Paul Rawden has identified upcoming matches against sides lower down the East Midlands Counties League table as a chance to accumulate crucial points.

Last Saturday’s 3-2 win at Greenwood Meadows was a first victory in nine league games with Welfare now sitting tenth in the standings.

But with several matches on the horizon against struggling sides, Rawden wants to see a return to the form that saw Welfare start the season so promisingly.

He said: “It’s been tricky in recent weeks as we’ve a really heavy pitch at the Stag Ground and that’s meant we’ve not been able to play as frequently and inevitably the cohesion and momentum gets affected.

“So we were just glad to get a game in last weekend and although the scoreline looks like it was quite tight, in reality it was a pretty one-sided game and a welcome three points for us.

“Following the good start to the season we had, I’d say we’re now about five points off where I’d hoped to be at this stage, but now we’ve got some games coming up against sides at the wrong end of the table I expect us to rack up a few more points that’ll hopefully get us back into the top six.

The festive period will see Kimberley host eight-placed Barrow Town on Saturday and then travel to sixth-from-bottom Borrowash Victoria on January 3.

Also on the horizon is a Notts Senior Cup quarter-final with Dunkirk on January 13 and Rawden is keen to see his squad stay intact for as many games as possible.

He said: “One good thing about having fewer games is that by Saturday we had a full strength side to pick from, including the introduction of new signing Cashel Walters.

“He has good experience having played in the Evo-Stik league and gives us a good attacking option, as proved by the fact that he set up all three of our goals on Saturday.

“I’ve told the players that if we can get through to the new year without too many injuries or suspensions it’ll be in our own hands given the sides we’ve still got to play.

“To qualify for next season’s FA Cup remains the aim so we’ll need to finish well.”

With regard to the festive period, Rawden says he is relying on his players to use their common sense when it comes to the usual seasonal excesses prevalent at this time of year.

He added: “At this level you can’t really dictate too much to the players what they can and can’t do away from the club but the fact is that it’s usually obvious who has and who hasn’t looked after themselves once they come back!

“Sometimes strange results crop up at this time of year when a few players aren’t quite as up to it as they usually are but we’ve a good group of lads and they know that if they’re not in the right shape they could lose their place in the team, so we’ll see how things go.”