CONFIDENCE is high in the Runcorn Linnets camp in the run-up to Saturday’s derby clash with Winsford United.
Steve Wilkes’ men face a tough double header over the next week with trips to the Barton Stadium on Saturday (3pm) and unbeaten table-toppers Newcastle Town on Tuesday (7.45pm), but Linnets are unbeaten now in four games so they couldn’t be better prepared.
Runcorn built on Saturday’s 3-0 defeat of Ashton Athletic with a superb 3-1 home win against Glossop North End on Tuesday.
The hosts went behind within a minute as Glossop scored with the first attack and could have doubled their advantage soon after. But a spirited first-half fightback saw Paul Fildes equalise following a fine David Sherlock run on 11 minutes, with Sherlock himself putting Linnets in front four minutes later.
Moment of the match, however, arrived five minutes before the break when the magnificent Rob Whyte produced a Messi-like turn on the edge of the penalty area, leaving two defenders trailing in his wake before firing past the North End keeper from a tight angle.
And manager Wilkes was full of praise the hotshot: “He can do that and no disrespect to Rob but if he had an extra yard of pace, he would be playing in the League. His touch and his strength, the tricks he’s got, he’s just fantastic.”
And after reading the riot act to his side last week, Wilkes is in a much more positive mood.
“In the second half, we shut up shop and learnt our lesson from the previous week’s draw with Nelson when we threw away a two-goal lead.
“The 3-0 win at Ashton gave the lads a bit a confidence. We’ve got lads who are comfortable on the ball and I’m really pleased with the last couple of games.”
Although the Linnets are in fine form at the moment, Wilkes is aware that Winsford will be itching to bounce back from a heavy midweek setback and Newcastle will be looking to extend a run that has seen them, amazingly, drop just two points all season.
“Winsford’s a game the fans look forward to because it’s a local derby, then on Tuesday, it’s a game we can’t lose because we’re beating everybody,” added Wilkes. “So we’re just going to go out and enjoy it. If we can get a result on Saturday, then maybe we can try and get something off Newcastle.
“Saturday will be tough. Winsford got a 5-1 spanking in midweek so you never know, it could have an adverse affect. But if we play like we did last night especially for the first half, then we should be okay.”
Simon Myerscough returns from a two-game ban for the Winsford clash but Chris Blundell remains a doubt.