Deflated Potters Bar Town players 'just want to play' says frustrated boss

Potters Bar Town manager says his players are desperate to play again.

Potters Bar Town manager says his players are desperate to play again. - Credit: PETER SHORT

Frustrated Potters Bar Town boss Lee O'Leary says his players "just want to play" after a string of postponements means they have had just one game in more than four weeks.

Four of the last five home games have been postponed due to waterlogged pitches, the last two despite passing earlier inspections, while Saturday's scheduled game with Cheshunt was called off due to the Ambers' progress in the FA Trophy.

Their next match is set for Tuesday when they travel to Brightlingsea Regent, itself a re-arranged fixture after the first one was abandoned due to a floodlight failure in November.

And it can't come quickly enough for O'Leary who has seen the demoralising affect lack of football has had on his squad.

He said: "We are losing match sharpness and a little bit of rhythm and momentum, whatever you want to call it. 

"It’s causing us a problem and you can just see that the boys are deflated. 

"They just want to play. They’ve gone 18 months without really playing because of COVID and when we get back into a full season, four of the last five home games have been called off because a waterlogged pitch. 

"It’s not ideal, far from it. 

"I just feel for the boys because even when we do get up and running again, it’s going to take them a while to get back to where they were before."

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The absence of matches is thrown into even sharper relief by the fact their last three results, stretching back to December 11, have ended in defeat.

O'Leary said: "Games are important. We’ve lost the last three games and usually when you have a bad game or a bad result, the best thing is to have another game really quickly. 

"At the moment every time we lose, we’re going 10 days without playing. 

"It’s difficult to get over those disappointments but there’s nothing we can do really. 

"The boys are hungry [to play] and maybe that will help. They have gone so long without any football that they may have some added motivation when we are back up and running to put on some good performances and enjoy it more. 

"This is the longest break I’ve had over Christmas which isn’t too bad around Christmas Day and Boxing Day but when it gets to January, you just want to play.

"We’ll just have to make the best of a bad situation."

So far they will play 12 games in the six weeks from January 29 with the matches against Cray Wanderers and Margate still to rearrange.

And that may mean asking for help from the club to strengthen what is already a "relatively small squad anyway".

O'Leary said: "We’ve always got the U23s to lean on and we have some good players in there and they definitely will be called upon, that is for sure. 

"But I may have to speak to the club and see [if we can get anyone in]. 

"They are losing out financially through not playing games on Saturday and replacing them with Tuesday fixtures, but I may have to ask because of the situation we are in and playing back-to-back for the rest of the season. 

"We are going to get injuries and suspensions and unavailability so we may have to bring in a couple instead of fire-fighting and being reactive."

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