Crunch time for Wingate as Meakin prepares for ‘four cup finals’
Wingate & Finchley manager Gary Meakin admits his struggling side are facing ‘four cup finals’ over the festive period as he attempts to guide the Blues away from the relegation battle.
W&F have taken just one point from a possible 18 in the Premier Division since Meakin replaced David Norman in November.
That has left them just one point outside the drop zone – and they now face four of their closest rivals in their next five games.
The Blues take on two of the bottom four teams – Carshalton and local rivals Hendon – in their next two outings, before hosting 18th-placed Hastings United on December 29.
That is followed by a tricky trip to high-flying Wealdstone, but Wingate then visit fellow strugglers Harrow Borough, who won their first game in eight on Tuesday night.
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“Four of the next five games are pivotal,” Meakin told Ham&High Sport. “Saturday is a massive game, followed by another massive game on Wednesday.
“We’re looking at four of the five games being very important – at worst it’s important we don’t lose ground – and then Wealdstone is sort of a free game to go and enjoy ourselves and express ourselves, because everyone outside of our dressing room expects us to lose.
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“The other four are huge though, they’re all cup finals. If we do well over Christmas it could take us out of trouble, but if we do badly we’re only looking one way.”
Meakin admits that his first six games have produced disappointing results – including a 3-0 home defeat against Hampton & Richmond on Saturday – but he believes the Blues’ fortunes are due to change.
“Internally things have gone well since I’ve arrived, but from an external point of view you’d say we’re struggling,” he said.
“Performances haven’t warranted the results we’ve got, but that can’t continue – we’ve got to get results.
“At the moment I’m not too worried. At some point we’ll hopefully get what we deserve and we’ll get the rub of the green.
“The way I do things are totally different to how the previous manager did it, and there was slight friction towards that at the start.
“That’s just because people don’t like change, so there was a bit of banging heads together for a week or so but now everyone’s hopefully on side.
“Now it’s time to stand up and be counted and get the results we deserve.
“Are we using the R-word [relegation]? No, I don’t even know what word you mean.
“It’s still early days, the league’s so tight. If we won three or four on the spin we’d be nearly out of trouble, and anyone who loses three or four will be dragged into it.
“There’s so many games to go and I’ve only just arrived so we’re not looking that way at the moment.”