Fenmen boss remains patient despite drive to return from lockdown
- Credit: Archant
Brett Whaley believes returning to competitive action too soon could be a decision that his Wisbech Town players could regret in their fight for survival.
The Fenmen have been without a game since October 24 after a second Covid-19 lockdown was imposed, as they sit second-bottom of the Pitching In Northern Premier League (NPL) South East Division.
“I haven’t enjoyed it as much this year because it doesn’t feel like normal games as every ground you go to seems to have different rules about where you can go and what you can do,” he said.
“To chuck people in at 90 minutes I think is asking for trouble.”
The NPL along with the Southern and Isthmian leagues decided to cancel its fixtures last week, with a hope of restarting by January following government reviews into the Covid-19 tier system.
Whaley, who like his chairman Paul Brenchley wants to resume in the new year, believes his team won’t be severely affected by lockdown after weeks away, but thinks health has to come first.
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“From the last lockdown we had and came back for pre-season, I don’t think the social aspect will be as big as the rustiness and physical condition of the lads,” he said.
“In terms of their health, we’ve tried to keep them as fit as possible, but that’s my biggest concern.
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“We’ve got to make sure that everything we put into place protects our players as much as possible, but if they want to play at this level, they’re going to have to play it like any other football match.”
Wisbech are one of two South East Division teams in Tier 2, while the 18 other clubs are in Tier 3, the highest level of restrictions.
The team, which has been keeping fit through lockdown with a personal training programme, has already had to self-isolate this season, and Whaley is cautious of history repeating itself.
“Is a lad going to look at money, or is it worth the risk going into an area they know there’s a lot of cases?” he added.
“We know there was a massive turnover of players last year and the way this is going, we will have another turnover.
“I understand the drive to get back and I want to get back to football, but I don’t think it’s as simple as getting going again straight after lockdown.”
Wisbech are in friendly action when they host Isthmian League North side Soham Town Rangers at the Elgoods Fenland Stadium on Tuesday, December 15, 7.45pm.