Vikings boss: time to start cementing first 11

The four Sidmouth Town team shirts hanging in the Manstone Lane dressing room. Now all the Vikings w

The four Sidmouth Town team shirts hanging in the Manstone Lane dressing room. Now all the Vikings want - understandably - is to get back to playing. Picture: JAY THORNE - Credit: Archant

Sidmouth Town manager Danny Burwood has said he is starting to choose his starting 11 as the new South West Peninsula League Premier East season draws nearer.

He said: “We’ve got two more friendlies against Exwick Villa and Colyton and we have’t had a lot of friendlies put in place but obviously with the pandemic and not knowing whether we’re going to be starting and all that sort of thing there’s only so much preparation you can do.

“We’ve been looking to give everyone who is keen to be part of the squad this year as many minutes as possible.

“In the last two games, we’ve had two squads of 17 which has mainly been the same players. We’ve mixed and matched with personnel but we’ve also tinkered with formations. Players who maybe might have played a position due to somebody not turning up and also due to maybe somebody looking to plan a different position.

“Now we’re looking to cement our final 11 on paper ready for the fifth but on the other side, the lads have got another two games now to win the starting shirt.”

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Burwood said the pre-season has been a ‘headache’ but he is now more confident the league will start on the planned date of September 5. He said: “There’s rumours of a government guideline announcement about maybe introducing minimal numbers back into watching games again at grassroots level.

“If that happens, I would have thought with the crowd sizes that we get we should be able to fulfil a game with enough social distancing to probably start on time

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“Last week I would have said to you that I was doubtful about starting on September 5 but all of a sudden overnight you see an announcement and then it’s like ‘wow we could be starting in September after all.’

“It’s been a headache if I’m honest with you. I decided to take all the pressure off myself and just think ‘alright this is the squad, concentrate on numbers which is what I’ve done get as many players in as I can’.

“You’ve got to take everybody’s thoughts into consideration, that includes backroom staff, the committee and the supporters.”

The Vikings also found out their FA Vase First Qualifying Round opponents this week and they will take on Western League Division One side Cheddar.

Burwood said: “It’s a nice draw for us cause we’re at home and if we win that one, we have another home draw against Callington Town or Ivybridge Town.

“My focus is as a team to put in a good performance, maybe get through a couple of rounds and then hopefully do well in that.”

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