‘We need our Christmas break’ admits boss Richardson as ‘depleted’ West Norfolk eye 2013 improvement

West Norfolk boss Nigel Richardson admits he can't wait to play Ely tomorrow — so his team can begin their Christmas break.

The North Wootton outfit have struggled for weeks with injuries and unavailability across the club's three sides halting their early-season progress.

But after their short trip to Cambridgeshire, Richardson's charges will be without a game until January 5 and the manager believes the short respite in fixtures will only benefit the club.

Wests' boss said: 'I don't normally look forward to a break but it's been hard for all three teams this season to field a regular side.

'We've lost about 12 players for a variety of reasons which has then meant we've nicked players from the seconds. We haven't been able to field the same side for a number of games.

'We will carry on and do a bit of light training during our break. We won't want the lads stuffing their faces and getting on the beer for a few weeks. I'm looking forward to the lads having a little break and getting some enthusiasm back.

'We want to consolidate where we are in the new year, get our strength back, and move forward.'

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West Norfolk will be boosted by the return of Ed Maule, who has been sidelined for about five weeks with a knee problem, for their trip to Ely. Captain Paul Denton will make his comeback in January after sustaining fractured ribs at Norwich Crusaders.

'Paul's been a big miss. Losing a captain doesn't help any side,' said Richardson.

'Ed's one our the most experienced players in the first team so he's been a massive loss. We've been getting by though and Craig Blackmur had a really good debut on Saturday. He didn't look out of place at all and for a young player he stepped into the first team and did well.

'We've always seen him as a good player and was looking to use him more but he's been away at university.'

Wests, ninth in the 12-team Greene King Eastern Counties Division One, lost 27-0 at home to second-placed Ipswich YM at the weekend.

They failed to dazzle in front of special guests ex-England international Paul Sampson and his TV presenter wife Kirsty Gallacher and expect another difficult test at fourth-placed Ely tomorrow.

Richardson said: 'We deserved to lose to Ipswich but I think we also deserved to at least score. On the day we put in a lot of hard work and pushed them.

'It's going to be another tough one tomorrow. We never go to Ely and expect to have an easy game. They seem to have improved but we will go there in positive spirits and the players may even give a little more than usual because they know they've got the Christmas break coming up.'

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