Wingate & Finchley captain: Expectations have changed this season

Wingate captain Marc Weatherstone (left). Pic: Martin Addison

Wingate captain Marc Weatherstone (left). Pic: Martin Addison - Credit: Archant

Wingate & Finchley captain Marc Weatherstone says expectations have changed this season and that the Blues are aiming to maintain their play-off challenge.

However, the skipper insists the squad is determined not to get carried away by their success so far this season, and that the primary goal is to reach 50 points.

W&F were relegated last season but were then given a reprieve when Worksop Town resigned from the Northern Premier League.

Weatherstone targeted a midtable finish before the start of the season, telling this title that Wingate “aren’t quite ready for the play-offs”.

But, four months on, David Norman’s side are sixth in the table, just three points outside the top five after collecting 35 points from their 23 league games.

“We’re having a fantastic season so far, and sixth place in the Ryman Premier League is the highest we’ve ever been as a club in our history,” said Weatherstone.

“We’re probably over-achieving but the expectations have changed and the play-offs could be realistic.

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“The first aim is to get to 50 points and a midtable finish would still be fantastic – nothing’s changed there – but of course we’re looking up the table too.

“We try not to encourage talking about the play-offs and the gaffer’s said ‘we’re having a great season but let’s not get over-confident’.

“It’s been a bit up and down recently, we’ve been a bit inconsistent, but that’s going to happen over a long season.

“I put our success down to gelling as a team really – we had a lot of new players last summer and it’s our second season together – and it’s also been a case of understanding our faults from last year and putting them right.

“The work-rate off the ball has improved a lot, and so has our understanding of each other’s play.”

Summer signing David Knight has been instrumental in Wingate’s strong form, scoring 20 goals in all competitions while his strike partner Rob Laney has registered eight.

Both forwards were on target as the Blues triumphed 2-1 away at 10-man basement boys Bury Town on Saturday.

“We didn’t score enough last season and that was our downfall, but we signed some good forwards in the summer and Knighty and Rob Laney have gelled so well and so quickly,” said Weathertone. “This just shows what you can do when you’ve got strikers who are scoring.

“We’re very confident, we’re going in thinking we can win games. In fact we’ve sometimes been going in too confident. We probably thought we were going to beat Bognor Regis Town a few weeks ago and we lost that one.”

Wingate now have an enticing opportunity to push themselves further into the play-off picture as they prepare for three successive home games against mid-table sides.

The Blues host East Thurrock United on Saturday and then welcome Kingstonian to Summers Lane on Tuesday before entertaining Grays Athletic next Saturday.

“We’ve got to make sure we win our home games,” said Weatherstone. “I was sitting down with one of the boys the other day and we were saying that if we can take 10 to 12 points over Christmas then it will be a good month.

“We’ve then got two derbies coming up, with Hendon [on December 27] and then Enfield Town on New Year’s Day.

“Hendon are fourth and that’s always a good game but Enfield are up there too and they’ve been in good form recently. That’s the one we’re looking forward to more, they’re the ones we really like to beat.”