Fareham boss Stiles unhappy with rescheduled FA Vase third round date - and 'bemused' five substitutes are not allowed

Fareham boss Pete Stiles says his squad should have been given more time to prepare before returning to competitive action in the FA Vase.

Friday, 12th March 2021, 4:12 pm
Updated Friday, 12th March 2021, 4:16 pm
Fareham boss Pete Stiles

And he is 'bemused' the FA have not introduced the five substitute rule for the remainder of the competition.

The Reds' FA Vase third round trip to Western League Premier Division table-toppers Plymouth Parkway has been rescheduled for Saturday, April 10.

It means Stiles' men will have just 13 days to prepare for the showdown as a team with non-elite clubs unable allowed to resume training and playing from March 29 under the government's roadmap to easing lockdown restrictions.

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But the Fareham boss stressed that is not enough time for his players to get back up to scratch having not played a competitive fixture since the lower level shutdown in December.

Stiles said: ‘I thought it would be April 10, I don’t think it’s great, but I did suspect they’d play it then.

‘Like I’ve said before, we’ve had four months off and you’ve suddenly got two weeks to get everyone up to speed and playing football.

‘It’s alright players can go for a run and do things like that, it’s not the same as playing football.

‘But we’re delighted to be playing football again, that’s the main thing. We just wish that supporters were able to come in and watch.’

Stiles is planning to squeeze four training sessions and a friendly in with the club's reserves between March 29 and the FA Vase trip to Plymouth Parkway.

After being given less than two weeks to ready themselves for a return to action, the Fareham boss felt the FA could have increased permitted substitutes in the competition from three to five - as is currently the case in the EFL.

But Stiles is now turning his attention to making sure his team are in the best shape possible as they bid to help the club reach the fourth round of the FA Vase for the first time.

He said: ‘What bemuses me is the fact you think they’d have shown a bit more sense and said you could change give outfield players or something, but it’s the same amount of subs as well.

‘You think they would have looked at it and thought, ‘well, let’s let them use five subs for the game,’ or something like that but they haven’t done that.

‘We’re just going to have a friendly with our reserves, probably, and try to cram four training sessions in - Tuesday, Thursday, friendly, Tuesday, Thursday then go to Plymouth.

‘There’s a lot at stake and we want to win but don’t get me wrong, it’s a really, really difficult game to have.’