Sidmouth Town all set for Boxing Day morning local derby

Ref mhsp 14 17TI 0258. Picture: Terry Ife

Ref mhsp 14 17TI 0258. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Sidmouth Town joint boss Kevin Tooze is hoping the weather relents to allow the Vikings to host Budleigh Salterton on Boxing Day morning, writes Steve Birley.

Town saw last Saturday’s league game with Axminster Town lost to a waterlogged Manstone Lane surface and there’s no action for Town this Saturday (December 22) as scheduled opponents Bovey Tracey have a cup tie that takes preference over league games.

Town have only played one league game since November and that was the December 8, 3-1 reversal at Crediton United. Indeed, their last home game was back on November 17 when Teignmouth were beaten 3-1.

Tooze says: “We need a game; the lads are training hard, but that’s not like getting games under your belt. We are managing to train on the all-weather surface under lights at Ottery St Mary, but you cannot beat a full 90 minutes of proper football!”

However, speaking to the Sidmouth Herald six days before the Boxing Day local derby with Budleigh, Tooze expressed concerns about the Manstone Lane pitch. He said: “Hand on heart, it’s soggy down there and we could do with a couple of days of sunshine and wind to get the surface back to the pristine best it has been.

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“The other side of the lack of action – particularly home games – is the loss of revenue to the club and let’s face it, a local derby on Boxing Day morning is going to draw a decent crowd and that sort of thing is vital to the well-being and financial stability of clubs like ours.”

Town have no injury or suspension problems ahead of the Boxing Day game and so Tooze and his fellow joint boss Danny Burwood will be able to field their strongest side. There is one thing that might affect selection though, something Tooze explained saying: “The fly in the ointment could be too much of the good food and booze on Christmas Day, but that’s this level of football for you and I am sure the lads will be up for this next game – they ought to be as it seems an age since we last played.”

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As for what has gone on so far this season in the Town league campaign – and what lies ahead – Tooze says: “Look, this may sound like a brash and bold statement from me, especially as I am not known to make such comments – but the bottom line is, if we could field our strongest team possible in each game for the remainder of the season then there’s no doubt in my mind that we’d be a top six side – we have the players signed on to make us a very respectable force at this level and, if I could ask for one thing for 2019, in football talk, it’d be for improved availability.”

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