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Sheppey United assistant manager concerned by lack of Southern Counties East League fixtures

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A lack of league fixtures in the early part of the season is a worry, admits Sheppey United assistant boss Marcel Nimani.

The Southern Counties East League season started at the end of July but as we head towards November the Ites have still only played 11 league games.

Sheppey in FA Vase action against Forest Hill last Saturday. Picture: Marc Richards (52709738)
Sheppey in FA Vase action against Forest Hill last Saturday. Picture: Marc Richards (52709738)

Two of their recent weekend fixtures have been in the Kent Senior Trophy and Nimani feels it would have been wiser to load up on league games in the early part of the season just incase there are any further Covid-related issues.

The Southern Counties East has had the last two campaigns cancelled because of Covid.

Nimani said: “I do think the league should have added some more midweek league games.

“It is great if we are confident the season will end, but I am fearful of the times ahead and I would have liked to have seen more midweek games.

“In September we played only one midweek game in the whole month. We are playing games but we have had so many cup competitions and there is such a distance between one league game and another and it is hard to get a flow, which is fine, we can get back into it, but it can’t be the case that we have a third season without being completed.

“As a precaution I would much rather delay the cup competitions and play them later on, once we have played half or three quarters of the season.

“I think the league is a priority and it is so vital that non-league football finishes, after two years without not being completed, wth a lot of effort and resources that have gone into it.

“We have played 18 games since the end of July and only 11 league games. I have seen teams booking friendlies but we should be playing league games. If we have another lockdown and an incomplete season, we will look back and regret this time of not playing league games.”

The league programme cannot finish too early, however, as the team that finishes second will be in a play-off against a step 4 side when victory would see the Southern Counties East side promoted.

Sheppey cruised to a 4-0 home win against Forest Hill Park in the FA Vase first round on Saturday.

Taurean Roberts’ early opener set them on their way against the SCEFL Division 1 side and he scored again before half-time after Liam Gillies had made it two for Ernie Batten’s men.

A last-minute own goal completed the scoring, with the Ites drawing Sheerwater away in round two. The tie will be play on Saturday, November 20.

Sheppey came from behind to beat Kennington 2-1 in the league on Tuesday night and travel to Erith Town this Saturday for a top-of-the-table clash.

Read more: All the latest sports news in Kent

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