Thursday, February 13, 2014
Sidmouth Town boss Paddy Thomas has not let the grass grow under his feet during the current spell of weather enforced inactivity for his side, writes Steve Birley.
The Vikings boss has used the last few weeks to secure the signing of three players that certainly boosts the team’s chances of a top half finish in the South West Peninsula League Eastern Division table.
One of the three new men is a former team mate of Thomas’s! Steve Blurton is vastly experienced on the South West football circuit and the military man is home after a recent tour of Afghanistan. He once played alongside Thomas when the pair were both at Budleigh Salterton! Thomas says of Blurton’s arrival: “He’s a quality player who has a presence on and off the pitch and I am delighted to have got his services for the remainder of the campaign.”
The first of the trio of signings was Andrew Thompson who has been enticed back to Manstone Lane from Exmouth Town. Thomas says: “Andrew (Thompson) brings so much to the team. He’d be the first name down on many a team sheet at a level higher than we play, so to have him on board is a real boost to our chances of a respectable finishing in the division. I know he’s been itching to play having been signed for over a fortnight and denied action by this rain!””
Completing the incomings is Mike Pigeon from Budleigh Salterton of whom Thomas says: “Like the other two Mike gives us additional options and with the three of them on board it gives us a squad that now has real competition for starting berths.”
With regard to the fact his team have been starved of recent action, the Vikings chief says: “I have personally never known a season like this. We all thought the lengthy spell of no action last season was something of a rarity, but here we are 12 months on with an even longer stint of no games and it might go on a while yet. The good thing from my point of view is that we have managed to keep some momentum going with the regular training session which have been well supported and also, we have managed to get onto the all water surface at Colyton on Saturday afternoon’s when we have had matches off and that has enabled us to stay fresh. I also know that a number of the players have been keeping strictly to their own gymnasium routines, so I don’t think there’ll be a problem when we do eventually get back into the swing of things.”
He continued: “It’s been very encouraging to see the intensity in training and in those Saturday afternoon sessions. None of the players are seemingly losing interest and, let’s face it, you could hardly blame them for going off an finding something else to do on a Saturday given the number of match days we have lost to the weather this season.”
Unlike many clubs Town’s lack of match day action has not seen bar sales hit too badly. Thomas explained saying: “The club runs a very good ship socially and players are returning there after our Saturday get-togethers so we have manage to keep things ticking along in that department.”