Sidmouth Town latest - Vikings’ boss speaks about fixture schedule, away travel and much more

Sidmouth Town's Manstone Lane before an evening kick-off. Picture: Sam Cooper

Sidmouth Town's Manstone Lane before an evening kick-off. Picture: Sam Cooper - Credit: Archant

Here we bring you a chat with Sidmouth Town manager Danny Burwood.

Now that the fixtures are out for the 2020/21 South West Peninsula League campaign, we caught up with Sidmouth Town manager Danny Burwood for his thoughts on things.

First up we asked the Vikings’ boss about the first month of the schedule and seven league games – and possible an FA Vase tie – to be played in a period of just 25 days.

He responded saying: “Given that we are starting the season later than we would have done, because of the pandemic situation, we figured we’d be busy!

“Seven - possible eight – games, in 25 days is a lot, but I see a busy period as a positive and a great chance to build momentum and, if we can get a good solid start under our belts it will set us up for a successful campaign.”

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With regard to the oncoming season and the squad he has, the Town boss says: “Everyone’s been waiting to get going again.

“It seems an age since we last played and it will be good to get everybody back together training and playing.

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“A good strong squad is something every manager needs so, with regard to those first 25 days, I am sure players will be rotated to get the maximum out of our youthful squad!

“We know the team spirit is there as we’ve proven in the past, it’s getting it right on the field now, and after a first season for some of our players at this standard, they’ll now know what is expected.”

Next, the Town boss turned his attention to current matters.

He said: “We’ve started training this week and that has been a long time coming, but I have to say I was absolutely delighted with the turnout with most of last year’s squad present with only a couple, who are currently away, missing.

“As an added bonus we have also had a couple of new faces and we have plans to add to the squad in the coming weeks.

“We have another session next week and more new faces have been invited and so I am very confident that, within the next couple of weeks we will have cemented a squad which I’m happy with.”

Turning his attention to the pre-season schedule, the Town boss said: “Pre-season games this year were organised well before the scheduled date to restart so some have obviously been moved back to August instead of July.

“What we do have now is four or five games pencilled in and these matches will be preceded by our four senior teams playing each other in what you could almost describe as ‘trial games’ and they will give us a good indicator of just who is straining at the leash to bag a place in a team.

“A couple of players have already impressed at our first session and we have in mind performances from last season too, so I’ll be keen to see if they’ve kept up their fitness over the past weeks.”

With regard to the on-going pandemic and restriction with regard to travel, the Town boss says: “As far as travelling to away games is concerned, the club does have the luxury of having a mini-bus, but that’s probably not going to be available to us given current restrictions and guidelines. If we have to travel with just one or two to a vehicle then so bet it!

“My main concern with the travelling and use of own cars is the car parking availability at clubs we might visit.

“Take Ilfracombe Town as an example. They get superb support at their place, but let’s say we travel there in seven or eight cars and any players from away that play for them have to also travel in such fashion, then their car park really is not going to cope with all those vehicles. Given that I don’t doubt it’s a case of residential parking outside some of the grounds then I can see a real headache with parking if we are all having to travel either alone in our cars or with just one other person.

“I feel for club secretaries with regard to that conundrum for parking guidelines from each club would need to be sent out to visiting clubs.”

He added: “Another concern is, of course, the inside of clubhouses and all the guidelines that need to be adhered to in order that everyone is kept safe.

“At our Manstone Lane clubhouse, we are fortunate enough to have an entrance and exit making rules within clubhouses easier to abide by!

“I’m sure it’s going to be very much the case that we all face ‘testing times’ ahead – be that managers, players, club officials and supporters.”

To close our conversation the Town boss finished with: “And of course, over and above everything I have already said, there is the added concern of the arrival of any ‘second wave’ and a subsequent lockdown again which would halt a season that is already starting late and going to be a congested on – fingers crossed that when we start we are able to play through the entire campaign. That said, people’s safety is paramount and I shall certainly be doing everything with that in mind.”

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