Lewes FC manager Tony Russell has warned his squad need to be alert to the danger Wingate & Finchley will bring on Saturday as the Rooks seek to return to winning ways in the Isthmian Premier League.
Saturday sees Russell take his troops to the Maurice Rebak Stadium, where Wingate & Finchley are seeking their first league win since mid-October.
And the boss isn’t taking Saturday’s opponents lightly.
“I’ve watched them twice – against Folkestone a few weeks ago and the video of them against Cheshunt,” says Russell.
“In both games they were outstanding – especially in the first half. They’re a dangerous side, one of those sides where you just want to get them out of the way. Because if you catch them on a bad day you’re going to get beat.
“They’ve got some unbelievable, really exciting players. I said to the boys at training ‘do not take these lightly’. These are very good players, especially going forward. The front two are a handful and we’re going to have to be at our best.”
Defeat on Tuesday leaves Lewes fourth in the Isthmian League table, a point behind third-place Cheshunt. And Russell is keen to get motoring again.
“We’ve had a positive session and we understand that as frustrating as it is, this first year is going to be like that,” says the boss.
“It’s going to be a little bit up and down, but there will be more positives than negatives. So we need to concentrate on the positives going forward. We’ve put in a good session, the boys are in good form. We go forward and look forward to the next game.”
We’re getting better
Despite Tuesday’s loss, Russell has also had the chance to reflect on what has been an emotional week for the club since the passing of dedicated fan ‘Cynical’ Dave McKay.
“With Folkestone it was always going to be a very emotional day, we spoke about in the build-up to the game,” says Russell.
“We lived up to expectations – the club did brilliantly to honour Dave’s memory and as a group on the playing side we did our bit as well to make it a special day.
“Folkestone are a very good side and when you look at the stats they had one shot on target from a corner that got deflected. That’s the only shot they had on target, while we scored three goals.
“On that day of all days, we had to be giving everything. Normally we try to stay calm and patient on the ball and we came out in the second half and weren’t great with the ball, but what we did was some amazing work at training to stop their threats. Their two centre-forwards were massive threats for them and have scored many of their goals.
“We scored the second goal late on and the noise in the Pan when it went in, the hairs on my neck were standing up. It was unbelievable.
“And then Joe Taylor added another one. I’m so proud of the players like Michael Klass and the centre-halves as well, I think we’re getting better as it goes on.”
Wingate & Finchley vs Lewes FC kicks off at 3pm on Saturday, 27 November.