WAKEFIELD FC manager Steve Nicholson has been delighted with his team’s encouraging start to the new Evo-Stik Division 1 North campaign.
The Bears have won four of their opening six league matches of the season, leaving them sixth in the league table.
Their latest triumph was a 4-1 victory over Ossett Town - the club they’re ground sharing with this season - on Bank Holiday Monday.
And Nicholson, in his first full season in charge of the club, has declared himself pleased with the way things have been going so far.
“I’m delighted to be where we are at the moment,” he said.
“We’ve made a great start, and although we didn’t really set any expectations before the start of the season, we didn’t have a great pre-season, results-wise.
“We’ve put in some great performances, especially against Ossett on Monday, and now it’s up to the lads to continue those performances.”
The scores were level in the battle of Stade France on Monday after a Nathan Joynes penalty levelled a Tom Denton opener.
But the Bears ran away with the contest in the second half, Danny South firing the ‘hosts’ back ahead before Denton bagged his second and Daniel Sheriffe rounded off the scoring.
Nicholson admits playing a ‘home’ game against the club they’re ground sharing with was slightly strange, but they didn’t let it impact on their performance.
“A couple of their lads came into the home dressing room before the match,” he said.
“But it went okay, our performance was great and the scoreline could have been even better in our favour.”
The Bears boss, who will also continue to play this season, believes the secret of their early-season success comes down to the new strength-in-depth within his squad.
Only Marc Roberts left last season’s squad, to join Evo-Stik Premier Division side Worksop Town, and Nicholson has added numerous players to bolster his options.
“I still don’t know my first eleven!” he said.
“We’ve had players away through work commitments and other lads have come in and done really well.
“We’ve got a bigger squad now which adds pressure on people to perform and that’s working for us so far.
“The lads know they have to be at the top of their game each week to keep their place in the squad; it’s a great thing to have.”
Wakefield turn their attentions to the FA Cup on Sunday when they host Northern Counties East League side Thackley in the preliminary round (kick-off 3pm).
And although Nicholson knows their opposition will prove a tough nut to crack, he knows just how important a run in the prestigious competition is for the club financially.
“It’s a massive competition, especially for clubs at this level,” he said.
“It raises the profile of a club and it also helps out greatly financially so it’s important we do well.
“But it’s going to be tough, I know Vince Brockie [the manager] from my days at Leeds United and know how he sets his teams up and it won’t be easy.”
Wakefield have slight doubts over Demi Kyriacou, who suffered a cut above the eye in the last outing, and Danny South for this weekend’s match, but both will be hoping to be fit and available for selection.
Meanwhile, Ossett Town will also look to progress in the FA Cup when they host local rivals Glass Houghton at Stade France on Saturday (kick-off 3pm).
Despite Monday’s defeat against Wakefield, Phil Sharpe’s men have made a decent start to the season and sit ninth in the league table.
Cup progression will also be important financially, as well as getting the winning momentum back up and running.
See this week’s Wakefield Express Sport for all the latest sports news from around the district.