Deans boss calls for change to tackle fixture frenzy

Horndean manager Dave Carter. Pictuee: Mick Young (122718-17)
Horndean manager Dave Carter. Pictuee: Mick Young (122718-17)
Hawks striker Jason Prior celebrates hitting the target for the first time since November. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (181103-1)

Bradbury: My Hawks won’t be bullied

Have your say

Horndean boss Dave Carter believes it is time for a change.

After Saturday’s clash with Alresford was postponed, his side are facing up to a horrendous schedule over the final six weeks of the season.

They must squeeze 15 Wessex League premier division fixtures into that jam-packed period.

In addition, their reserves have another 13 games to play – leaving the club with a logistical nightmare.

Good runs in the FA Cup and FA Vase have contributed to the problem.

But the major contributing factor has been the dire weather.

The Deans only played twice in December and January because of heavy rain – and Carter believes it’s time a winter break was introduced.

‘It was the same last season when we went nearly 12 weeks without a game at one stage,’ said the boss.

‘The rain seems to arrive every Friday to disrupt the football programme.

‘I would love to see the league extend the season but I don’t think it will happen.

‘Personally, I would like to see us playing more football in the summer.

‘Not only would it solve part of the problem, I think far more people would come out and watch the games.

‘It would be more enjoyable for the players in front of decent crowds.

‘In the middle of winter we tend to get either one man and his dog or just a few hardy family and friends.’

Horndean have to play three games each week for the rest of the season to complete their fixtures.

They travel to Romsey Town tomorrow night, host Hayling United in a derby on Thursday and then visit Hamworthy on Saturday.

It is a huge commitment for part-time players – many of whom have jobs and families to consider.

Carter admits there will be games for which they will deliberately not pick their strongest team, to give players a rest. It is something he is reluctant to do but insists the situation leaves him no choice.

‘It goes against your natural instincts,’ said Carter.

‘We have sat down and named a squad of 23 players who we believe are capable of playing first-team football.

‘A lot of our squad are young, so hopefully they will be able to cope with the amount of football they have to play.

‘We may have to target games to select our strongest line-up and that in many ways devalues the league.

‘If this keeps happening year after year someone will need to do something about it.’

For the moment, though, Carter accepts Hordean will just have to roll up their sleeves and get on with it.

‘If we can get on a run we can still earn a top-10 finish,’ he added.