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Whitstable Town manager Nicky Southall calls on Ryman League officials to extend the season to deal with backlog of fixtures

09 January 2014
by Alex Hoad

Nicky Southall.

Nicky Southall.

Nicky Southall has called on Ryman League chiefs to show ‘common sense’ and extend the season to help deal with their backlog of games and avoid putting the players at risk.

The Oystermen played 19 Division 1 South games in the first 154 days of the season but, after disruption caused by cup success and bad weather – with Tuesday’s visit of Hastings the latest to be postponed – Town now face the unenviable task of playing their remaining 27 games in the space of 105 days.

Manager Southall said: “We are not in an ideal situation and it’s hugely frustrating. 

“It’s more than likely that we’re going to end up playing Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday as we try to make up the backlog. We have spoken to the players and got them geared up for that. It’s a likely scenario.

“Saying that, the league need to use some common sense and extend the season, even if it’s initially only for a week or two. 

“They need to do something sooner rather than later, they need to act quickly so we’re able to plan ahead and prepare properly.

“All it needs is a bit of common sense. We’re almost halfway through January and we have another 30-odd games to fit in.

“One thing is that this might not even be the end of the problems – we haven’t even had a cold snap. What if the cold sets in next month and we lose a load more games?

“You have to think about the safety of the players too, playing three or four times a week when it’s cold, or even when it heats up again and the risk of injury with fatigued players going in for challenges.”

Weather-permitting, Town will visit struggling Three Bridges – two places below Whitstable and in the drop-zone – on Saturday, with a trip to mid-table Burgess Hill to follow on Tuesday (7.45pm) before hosting second-bottom Eastbourne the following Saturday.

Southall said: “The best-case scenario is obviously getting all three games on, getting nine points, climbing the table and all of a sudden we’re just outside the playoffs.

“You don’t want to be looking over your shoulder but unfortunately that’s the situation we find ourselves in. If we were able to beat the teams below us, it gives us a bit of a cushion.

“I couldn’t tell you how many Kent derbies we have had already this season and they are a great leveller. We’re happy to get out there to Surrey and Sussex.”

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