BLOG: Barton Town and Tadcaster Albion games could answer big question: “Is this Tigers team better than last season’s side?”

Rainworth Miners' Welfare v Worksop Town.                      'Lewis Chambers tries to block a Julian Lawrence clearance.
Rainworth Miners' Welfare v Worksop Town. 'Lewis Chambers tries to block a Julian Lawrence clearance.

Are the 2015/16 Worksop Town squad better than last season’s bunch? The next week might go a long way towards answer that question.

Tigers face two massive home games in quick succession, games that they only took a single point from in 2014/15.

First up is fourth-placed Barton Town on Saturday - a side that beat Mark Shaw’s men 2-0 in the corresponding fixture last term.

Wednesday is arguably a bigger test, when leaders Tadcaster Albion roll up.

Who can forget last season’s barnstormer? Former Manchester United man Jonathan Greening was sent off and Tigers led 10 man Albion 2-1 until the last minute.

Andrew Milne’s Sandy Lane equaliser sparked wild celebrations and sent Worksop fans home with a sour taste.

Worksop had the last laugh, literally, beating Tad away in the season’s finale and pipping them to second place.

But if the class of 2015/16 want us to believe they’re better than the team who finished runners-up to Shaw Lane Aquaforce, this week will speak volumes.

There are signs that, despite a plethora of departures, Tigers might just be in better shape.

Goalkeeper Jon Stewart and defender Tom Burgin had gone before the season opener.

Shaw brought in Jon Kennedy, and in recent games especially he’s proven invaluable.

Burgin’s absence, and a serious injury to Sam Liversedge, have been negated by newcomers Julian Lawrence, Jamie Hadfield and Jordan Cooke.

Steve Woolley is a classy and versatile talent and Jack Waddle looks like a new man.

Statistics can be misleading, especially so early on in a season, but Tigers are conceding 0.92 goals per game, marginally better than last season’s 0.95.

Up front, things are looking quite rosy.

A midfielder, Conor Sellars, picked up the top goalscorer award in the summer for his 23 goals.

But with 14 to his credit before the middle of October, Kyle Jordan, who only scored three in 2014/15, is on course for at least a 30-goal season.

Mitch Husbands found the net 13 times in the previous campaign, and he has eight up to now.

Tigers are knocking in 3.83 goals per game, compared with last season’s 3.15

In the wake of Jake Scott’s exit, the Worksop midfield will have to prove themselves again.

His combatitive nature and eye for a pass will be missed, although James Cottingham looks a ready-made solution and Tom Elliott is a star in the making.

Numbers aside, Worksop Town need to show that they’ve grown up, and learned from last season’s disappointments.

They will need to show they can kill games off and beat their closest rivals when the pressure is on.

Six points from these games would be a weighty piece of evidence for the argument that this Tigers team can go one better than their predecessors and finish 2015/16 top of the pile.