League leaders AFC Fylde next up in ‘crazy’ schedule for Lowestoft Town
- Credit: Tom Smith/Focus Images Limited
The full effects of a 'ludicrous' festive schedule will be assessed by Lowestoft Town's management ahead of their long trip to Lancashire.
Premier League managers have bemoaned having to play three matches in seven days, which was one extra match than the majority of teams in the Football League.
Yet teams at Lowestoft's level have had to play the same amount of games as teams in the top flight of English football.
There is a big difference between the two levels though, namely tens of thousands of pounds per week in wages for players in the Premier League, as opposed to players at Conference North having to balance having full-time jobs with their semi-professional careers.
As if that intense schedule was not enough, the Trawlerboys tomorrow face league leaders AFC Fylde, based near Kirkham on the Lancashire coast.
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The 540-mile round trip is likely to take around six hours in each direction for the Blues, as they travel for their fourth match in just nine days. It is a schedule which has left Lowestoft director of football Craig Fleming (inset) far from happy as they travel for an overnight stay in Blackpool.
'I don't think we've got any of the injured lads coming back so it's going to be the walking wounded a bit, it's just this crazy run of games that we shouldn't have to play,' Fleming said.
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'From the very top all the way down, it's just been ludicrous this Christmas. These lads have got jobs as well, it's just crazy.'
Despite the demands, Lowestoft have so far picked up a creditable four points. They lost a 5-3 thriller at Boston on Boxing Day, beat Gainsborough 2-0 at Crown Meadow on December 28 and then drew 1-1 at home with Boston on New Year's Day.
Centre-back Curtis Haynes-Brown had to go off in the first half of Thursday's draw with Boston and is a serious doubt for today's clash with Fylde.
'He's got a bad back, it keeps seizing up on him,' Fleming said of Haynes-Brown's injury. 'He's landed funny on it the other day and it just keeps seizing up on him. So with Dan (Gleeson) having his hamstring, he seems to be struggling a bit as well, so we'll just have to see how he goes before the Fylde game.'
Lowestoft actually beat big-spending Fylde 1-0 back in August but the Coasters have since assumed control of the division by losing just one of their last 19 league games, winning 14 of them.
'It was a really tough game, we were under the cosh for long periods of the game, they're a good side to be fair and they've spent a fair bit of money,' Fleming said of his side's win against Fylde.
'But we beat them here, we proved we can match them, so we're looking forward to it.'