Stop-start nature of National League North season 'no good for players' bodies', says Boston United boss Craig Elliott

Pilgrims boss fears more injury problems...
Joe Leesley and his teammates have not played on a Saturday since Boxing Day. Photo: Oliver AtkinJoe Leesley and his teammates have not played on a Saturday since Boxing Day. Photo: Oliver Atkin
Joe Leesley and his teammates have not played on a Saturday since Boxing Day. Photo: Oliver Atkin

Craig Elliott was delighted to see his squad return to training with a 'lot of aggression' - but the Boston United manager remains sympathetic that his side are 'getting messed about'.

Despite the two-week suspension of the National League North ending last Friday, the Pilgrims have seen three consecutive contests fail to go ahead.

Curzon Ashton, last weekend's opponents, opted not to fulfil the fixture due to concerns over funding and health, and have subsequently been charged.

Tuesday's home clash with Kidderminster Harriers and today's scheduled trip to Guiseley both fell foul of the recent cold snap.

"We trained on the Thursday for Curzon and were disappointed (the game didn't go ahead)," Elliott said.

"We trained on the Saturday as Kidderminster wanted to play and there was a lot of positive energy in the group and excitement.

"To get another setback, I feel sorry for the players more than anyone.

"They trained hard. They're professional in what they do and there's nothing worse when you're a player when you cant get rhythm and consistency.

"There was a lot of disappointment when I said it looked like the game would be off at Guiseley.

"It gets harder. There was a lot of aggression, you could see that they wanted to burn off this energy they've got.

"It's the players who are getting messed about in terms of preparation, physically getting ready for games."

Due to the suspension of the league, frozen pitches and opponents opting not to play, the Pilgrims haven't played on a Saturday in seven weeks - since Boxing Day's 2-0 victory over Alfreton Town.

Elliott worries the late postponements of contests will take a toll on players' fitness.

"The hardest thing is when games are called off late on," he added.

"It's easier for full-time teams as they can structure the training throughout the week.

"My biggest worry is some of these sessions we have, we couldn't get a lot of physical work into them as it was too close to a game, then you realise the game is off and you wish you'd have done some more work.

"My concern comes from the fact I could do with a week or two to get the lads where I want them.

"If we do get back playing I can see the first three four weeks being very inconsistent for everyone, with injuries and things like that.

"There's been a lot of talk about money, and we want all the clubs to still be here, but players are human beings and they're athletes who need consistent training. To be stop start, it's no good for their bodies."

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