GREAT Wakering Rovers player/manager Dan Trenkel is hoping his 402nd appearance for the club at Basildon United tomorrow will be his most memorable ever.
Wakering need to win the game to be crowned Essex Senior League champions and secure their passage back into the Ryman Division One North after two seasons away.
And for Trenkel, who passed the landmark of 400 games in their cup semi final win against Takeley last Thursday, it will be a special moment should they do it.
“There was a time when I never thought I’d get anywhere near that total,” laughed Trenkel. “I’ve left the club two or three times and come back and I’m just proud to have reached 400. I’m just hoping that the 402nd game tomorrow is the best ever.”
For Trenkel – who returned to Wakering as boss in December 2011 when he could not stop their drop from the Ryman One North – promotion and the title will represent a little bit of personal redemption, too.
The 30-year-old admits he took their first season back in the Essex Senior too lightly last year when, despite being favourites, they fell short in their aim to bounce back at the first attempt.
“Last year was probably my fault,” Trenkel said. “I took it a bit too lightly and thought we could just turn up with a decent side and turn teams over, but I under-estimated the other teams in the league. They treated playing us as their cup final and we lost games that we shouldn’t of.
“This year it has been different. Teams still raise their games against us, but we have matched that this year. It’s something we learnt from and is driving us on.”
Trenkel is certain the Basildon United team tomorrow will be one of those sides who will raise their game for Wakering’s visit.
Not only are they under new management – Colin Cook has returned to the club – but they will be determined to rain on their derby rivals’ parade.
“We’ve had a great reaction since losing to Haringey at the start of the month,” he said. “We have won five games straight but tomorrow will be a whole different ball game.
“On paper, Basildon have nothing to play for and I hope it’s a case of them seeing the season out.
“But it’s a local derby and every time they play us they raise their game and I can’t see it being any different tomorrow.”
Trenkel will be without Joe Skeels, who has been on form in recent weeks, but he is hoping to welcome back Billy Radley, Aaron Baldwin and Jay Smith back into the squad following injuries.
And Trenkel hopes his vast experience will help his players through what is sure to be a nervy occasion.
“The players aren’t too bad at the moment, but I’m sure it will hit home today,” said Trenkel. “I have been in this situation before and hopefully that will help.
“The key is going to be patience. I know we can score at any time and we don’t have to win it in the first 10 minutes.”