Gosport Borough boss Shaun Gale wary of making too quick a return after lockdown ends

Gosport boss Shaun Gale. Pic: Tom Phillips.Gosport boss Shaun Gale. Pic: Tom Phillips.
Gosport boss Shaun Gale. Pic: Tom Phillips.
Gosport Borough could play a few friendlies after lockdown restrictions are lifted.

But boss Shaun Gale fears too quick a return to playing after a long gap could lead to more injuries.

Borough’s Southern League season was officially curtailed on Wednesday by the FA - no huge shock given they hadn’t played a league game since the end of October.

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Indeed, they have only played seven Premier South matches and two FA Cup ties since the first national lockdown was imposed last March.

‘It could be we come back for some training and look to play a few friendlies,’ said Gale. ‘I’ve spoken to a few managers already.

‘But don’t forget the players haven’t kicked a ball for months. They’ve kept fit but general fitness isn’t the same as football fitness.

‘A few of the senior players picked up injuries when we did get back playing in September as they hadn’t played for so long.

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‘I need my senior players, it wasn’t their fault but I don’t want them sitting in the stand.

‘This is a chance now to prep it all for next season, to get everyone in tip-top condition.’

Boro skipper Mike Carter didn’t play a competitive fixture in 2020/21 after picking up an injury in pre-season.

Striker Matt Paterson and midfielder Theo Lewis also missed chunks of what little action there was in September and October.

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Paterson, though, underwent a knee op just after Christmas and is hopeful he will come back stronger when the 2021/22 season starts.

Gale, like almost everyone else in non-league, was not surprised to hear his club’s league season had been curtailed.

‘I don’t think there could have been any different outcome,’ said the former Hawks boss.

‘When the Conference South went last week, there was no point going on after that.

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‘I don’t see why the decision couldn’t have been taken months ago.

‘We’ve already started planning for next season, talking about budgets and everything. But it’s difficult, clubs haven’t had any income for months.

‘I’m clear in my mind as to what I need for next season.

‘I think almost all the players are out of contract in May.

‘We have some good players who I want to keep, and hopefully add to them. We have our targets and I want us to be competitive next season.

‘I want the best local players around. There’s no point signing players who live in the London area spending a few hours coming down to training twice a week.

Gale added: ‘There’s a lot of things going on behind the scenes to try and make this a better football club, a more community-based club.

‘These are exciting times.’