Whitstable Town manager Nicky Southall says he wished his side hadn’t gone on their record-breaking FA Trophy run as they face fixture backlog
Whitstable Town’s fixture pile-up has left manager Nicky Southall wishing his side hadn’t gone on their record-breaking FA Trophy run.
Floodlight failure forced the abandonment of Town’s game at Walton Casuals on Saturday and their trip to Crawley Down on Tuesday fell foul of a waterlogged pitch.
Whitstable have played fewer games than any other side in Ryman League, Division 1 South and the visit of Guernsey to the Belmont this weekend also looks in doubt.
Southall’s side made club history when they reached the second round proper of the Trophy before going out to a last-minute goal against Ebbsfleet and the former Gillingham midfielder was thrilled to have “put Whitstable on the map” during the eight-game run but he feels differently now.
He said: “We had an amazing run in the FA Trophy and we’ve done really well in the Kent Senior Cup but my boys have been punished for it.
“I’d rather have gone out in the first round of the Kent Senior Cup and the FA Trophy. I know we got the revenue from it but it’s impinged on our league position.”
Whitstable’s recent inactivity has seen them drop into the relegation zone, albeit with up to six games in hand over the teams around them.
Southall said: “We’re in a false position, there’s no dressing that up, because of the amount of games we’re behind. I’ve going to have to get my players doing Saturday-Tuesday-Thursday between now and the end of the season.
“For guys at this level, this isn’t their main income. When we train in midweek, they don’t have to turn up until 7.30pm but when we’ve got a midweek game, they need to leave work at 3-4pm and that impinges on their work commitments.
“They’ve got to ask their boss if they can go to Peacehaven or Worthing on a Tuesday or a Thursday. People can’t always get out of work. They’re not going to lose their main income just because they’re playing football.”
Southall also criticised the Ryman League for not scheduling more fixtures during August and September, when pitches are at their best.
He said: “In the early part of the season, we play in the League Cup and other cup competitions that don’t really mean a lot. We need to use the good conditions in the first two months of the season, to play Saturday-Tuesday to make sure this doesn’t happen.”
If the Guernsey game does go ahead (3pm), Southall will have defenders Craig Maguire and Joe Kane available after injury. Whitstable then host Redhill on Tuesday.
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