RAINWORTH MW striker Sean Cann is hoping he will be fit to face his former club Lincoln United in Saturday’s Evo-Stik NPL Division One South fixture at Ashby Avenue.
But fellow front man Danny Simpson has declared himself fit to return to the squad after training on Tuesday night.
Simpson has not figured since pulling a hamstring in pre-season, while Cann, who joined from Lincoln United just prior to the start of the season, twisted an ankle three weeks ago.
Managers Lee Wilkinson and Billy Millar can’t wait to see the two paired up front for the Wrens, and hope that their return will kick-start a season in which goals have been hard to come by – just five league goals in nine matches is very much art the heart of Rainworth’s slide down the table to 19th after leading the league early in the season.
Said Millar: “We’ve known for some time that when we are without our main strikers we struggle. Our defensive record is among the best in the division, and that’s a huge testament to them considering the amount of pressure they have come under, but you don’t win matches if you don’t score goals.”
Rainworth went into last Saturday’s game against league leaders Sheffield with several absentees, and despite a much better performance they went down 2-0 to two first half goals.
“It’s the first time we have come in at half time two down,” Millar continued, “but after the way they had played we couldn’t tear them off a strip.
“It does seem to be coming together slowly but surely for us, but it’s the same old story of two many injuries and players coming back still needing match fitness.
“No-one is giving us a good hiding, but you can’t hide behind excuses and there is no denying that results have not been good enough – we don’t need to be told that.
“It’s not for want of trying, and we have been in for a number of players over the last week to strengthen the squad, but it’s ironic that the only one we have managed to sign out of six or seven in that time has been a defender, Tommy Hannigan, when we are already strong in that department.”
The popular Hannigan returned to Kirklington Road after starting the season with Belper Town, and he was the choice of many fans for man of the match against Sheffield, although the managers’ vote went to skipper Mark Kennedy who switched to right back to make way for Hannigan in the centre.
Paying tribute to the captain, Millar went on: “I’ve admired him since he was a youngster 20 years ago – he’s a great pro and an example to anyone. He just gets on with whatever job he is given and was outstanding once again.”
Despite the possible return of the front two the hunt goes on to strengthen the squad, although it is understood that one or two ‘targets’ have opted to move elsewhere for greater financial reward.
But Millar insisted that despite the poor run of results the mood of the squad remains upbeat, although he added that he was glad of the breathing space given by having no midweek game this week.
Meanwhile, even if Cann and Simpson do return against Lincoln, they will still be short of several players.
Midfielder Danny Mayman has a 50-50-chance of making the squad after suffering a calf injury, but Cameron Fearon and Jamie Goodacre are both serving the second of a three match ban – according to FA rules Goodacre, having been sent off while playing for Glapwell in the Central Midlands League, is unavailable until he has sat out three Glapwell matches.
Meanwhile Ricky Hanson is still away on honeymoon, and Joe Carter returns from holiday on Saturday but almost certainly not in time to play.
But along with Cann, midfielder George Zuerner will also be eager to face his old club, having joined the Wrens from Lincoln in August.
With Saturday week’s scheduled visitors Leek Town still in the FA Cup, Rainworth will now entertain Belper Town on that date.