Bostik Premier: Wingate & Finchley boss Keith Rowland unhappy and expects response at Needham Market

Wingate & Finchley manager Keith Rowland during their match with Harrow Borough (pic: Gavin Ellis/TG

Wingate & Finchley manager Keith Rowland during their match with Harrow Borough (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo). - Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

Blues manager calls on team to not rest on their laurels and step it up after poor start to new season

Keith Rowland has warned his Wingate & Finchley players they must improve quickly after a bad start to the Bostik Premier sees them bottom after two games.

The Blues suffered a frustrating 4-1 loss away to Merstham on the opening day of the season and were then deservedly beaten 3-1 at home to rivals Harrow Borough on Tuesday.

Ahead of Saturday’s trip to Needham Market, Rowland has demanded a reaction from his side, which impressively reached the play-offs.

He said: “For a start we are looking for a clean sheet this weekend and we know we are going to a place where we will play a physically strong team.

“Needham Market are a side that will get stuck in and we will need to roll our sleeves up. It is that type of scenario for us.

“It is now up to the players to have a good look at themselves and for us as a management team to do the same.

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“We need to see if we have to make a few changes because we have to go there and be prepared to dig in if we want to get something from the game.”

After an excellent 2016/17 season, Wingate would have hoped to try and kick on this time around and start strongly.

The Maurice Rebak Stadium club did begin the previous campaign with back-to-back defeats, but the manner of them will disappoint Rowland.

Alex Addai came back to haunt his old side on Saturday, as he struck a brace for Merstham with Ryan Hall and Youseff Bamba also on target meaning Afolabi Obafemi’s second-half strike was a mere consolation.

It was a similar story at home to Harrow Borough on Tuesday with Marc Charles-Smith scoring his first Wingate goal.

But Kurtis Cumberbatch, Charles Banya and Ant O’Connor found the net for the visitors to give them a 3-1 victory.

“I think this has been a wake-up call for one or two of our lads and we did terrific last season and the table doesn’t lie. You finish where you deserve to,” said Rowland.

“This time it is a bit strange because only one team goes down and you also have clubs throwing money at it.

“Last season we finished in the play-offs with a bottom five budget, so yes we did well, but you can never rest on our laurels.

“You have to work hard and these young lads need to realise that as well as they did before, this time around you have to improve.

“I am never happy with a group of players who are just happy to be here. I want a group who want to move on and do better.

“Football doesn’t stand still and wait for you to get going. It will move on if you are not prepared to give it a good go.”