Wingate & Finchley boss Marc Weatherstone believes a derby win against fierce rivals Hendon in the FA Cup second qualifying round this Saturday could jump-start their season writes Alec McQuarrie.
The Blues are winless in their first five games in the Pitching In Isthmian Premier League but have the chance to equal the club’s best-ever FA Cup run this weekend.
Weatherstone’s men first must make the five-mile trip west and overcome Southern Premier South side Hendon, who are not any faring better this term.
Six defeats from six leaves the North London club bottom of their league, and Weatherstone is eying up a confidence-boosting win at Silver Jubilee Park.
“It’s a big derby game, a lot of rivalry,” said Weatherstone. “Both teams are not in amazing form, so this could be a game where it kickstarts either team’s league campaign.”
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Despite being the only team in their league without a win, spirited draws against promotion hopefuls Lewes and Kingstonian were encouraging signs for Weatherstone.
He added: “To be fair, our performances have been good. I think what we lacked in the first three games was in both boxes; individual mistakes and not taking our chances.
"In terms of performances, I was happy with how we started.”
And the motivation for another strong display against Hendon couldn’t be much greater, with history just two games away.
“It would mean the world to all of us as a club to reach the Fourth Qualifying Round,” said Weatherstone.
“Not just for Wingate, for anyone at our sort of level it generates a good amount of money for the club to be sustainable going forward.
“It would be great for us to achieve, not only for the money purposes, but to kick on the confidence in the squad, and for me as a manager, it’d be great to get past our previous record.”
Weatherstone is technically still a player-manager, having previously represented Wingate & Finchley on 459 occasions, but the 34-year-old is not hoping to pull on the blue jersey any time soon.
“I don’t want to hang my boots up fully just yet. The only situation where I’d play is if we get suspensions and injuries but I will be back of the pile,” he said.
“It would have to be a serious case for me to get my boots on. I was looking recently at back in the day when I played for Dulwich Hamlet and I do really miss playing.
“If I wasn’t in this management role I don’t know what I’d do with my midweeks and Saturdays.
“I miss playing but I think the team would be better without me.”
Ladbrokes, with the support of its owner Entain, has launched a multi-million-pound investment programme, Pitching In, designed to support and promote grassroots sports. For more details see: https://entaingroup.com/sustainability/pitching-in/