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Herne Bay manager Ben Smith suggests the Isthmian League should think about axing some cup competitions to free up fixture space

Herne Bay boss Ben Smith has suggested the Isthmian League should consider axing some cup competitions next season.

Smith admits football doesn’t take priority at the moment in light of the coronavirus outbreak.

But he backed the Isthmian League’s decision to join the Premier League and Football League in suspending play before the weekend, and he was surprised to see the National League and Southern Counties East continue before they followed suit on Monday.

Herne Bay manager Ben Smith
Herne Bay manager Ben Smith

League bosses have decisions to make on how to complete the season – should that even be possible, with Bay’s fixtures suspended until April 3 at the earliest.

“In my opinion it would be a case of, potentially, scrapping cup games next season,” said Smith.

“We have so many midweeks without (league) fixtures, they can put them (extra league fixtures) in there.

“The problem with it all lies that there are probably clubs who couldn’t play games on their pitches even now.

“It might not be the club’s fault but we have paid out a lot of money to get our games on, especially over the Christmas period.

“We have had companies coming out and we have put a lot of money into the pitch."

He continued: “Even if we do extend it (the season), some of these clubs have got to get their pitches sorted to get these games on.

“We have 10 games left. We’ve had more than 10 midweeks where we could have had fixtures in there.

“We had five or six Velocity Trophy games… Well that would have taken us down to four or five (extra league matches) left.”

Smith, whose team are fifth in Isthmian South East, added: “I don’t think it’s a difficult one to cram a season in, that’s for sure.

“Yes, you want time to train and stuff.

“But even with putting all these midweek games in, I still think people would have time to train.

“We have 10 games left and I think we have had more midweek training sessions on Tuesday nights than that, a lot more.

"So I think it’s easily done and easily worked.

“Even if they started in October, I don’t think there would be a problem finishing the league.

“If it does become later than that, they might have to look at the FA Cup, FA Trophy and the FA Vase – maybe knock them on the head for a season. There are certainly ways of doing it.

“Another solution is, next season, you only play a team once and they work it out so you all have an equal amount of home games as everyone else.

"That could be done."

Smith added, with George Kamurasi sidelined with a dislocated shoulder, they have re-signed goalkeeper Ben Hunter and have made seven-day approaches for other keepers.

Read more: All the latest sports news in Kent


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