Bostik Premier: Wingate & Finchley under-23 coach Dean Barker sad to see Thurrock’s future in doubt

Wingate & Finchley under-23 manager Dean Barker (pic: Martin Addison/Wingate & Finchley FC).

Wingate & Finchley under-23 manager Dean Barker (pic: Martin Addison/Wingate & Finchley FC). - Credit: Archant

Keith Rowland’s team entertain Mark Stimson’s Fleet on Saturday and it could be the last ever meeting between the two clubs

Wingate & Finchley coach Dean Barker is sad to see Thurrock, this weekend’s opponents in the Bostik Premier, in a tough situation.

The Fleet revealed at the end of February they may fold once the current campaign ends after putting their Ship Lane home up for sale with chairman Tommy South announcing in August that he was going to step down.

Thurrock are now in a race against time to find someone to take over from South, but if their Ship Lane ground is sold to someone who doesn’t want it to be a football stadium, they may well fold.

Barker, who is manager of Wingate’s under-23s and also helps out with some first-team matters, revealed his sadness at the current news ahead of Fleet’s visit to the Maurice Rebak Stadium on Saturday.

He said: “Thurrock are a really big club with a lot of history and we did well to go there earlier in the season (December 9) and win 4-2.

“Mark Stimson is a very good manager and has a lot of experience in non-league, so from a personal point of view I am sure he won’t be short of offers in the summer, but it is really sad to see the club in their current situation.

“Hopefully they can work something out or at least come back in a different form because Thurrock is a club steeped with tradition.”

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Wingate, despite the issues taking place at their Essex opponents, will be looking to claim the points and end their three-game winless run.

After hosting Thurrock, the Blues will then make the long trip to Lowestoft Town on Tuesday after the original clash with the Trawler Boys, scheduled for last Saturday, was postponed due to the heavy snow.

The Suffolk-based club are another side with troubles, as they announced on Sunday their financial difficulties are ‘near critical’ which resulted in forward Jake Reed exiting for Leiston the following day.

Barker added: “It just shows how well our chairman Aron Sharpe runs Wingate along with Keith (Rowland), Ritchie (Graham) and everyone else.

“We have tended to struggle against the so-called weaker teams this season, but raised our game against the top sides, so we know ever game in this league is tough.

“It doesn’t matter what is going on at the two clubs, we are well aware both Saturday and Tuesday will be difficult games for us.”