'If more fixtures were played earlier at the start of the season, we could have a winter break' - Shoreham boss Pulling

Mark Pulling
Mark Pulling

Shoreham mananger Mark Pulling believes the Southern Combination League could have a winter break if more games are played earlier in the season.

Shoreham have played one friendly in the last two weeks and their last two games - against Seaford Town on Saturday and Mile Oak tonight (Tuesday) - postponed due to weather.

And Pulling believes it would be better to have fixtures piled up at the beginning of the season.

He said: "Yes it’s a little frustrating but it always happens at this time of the season. Yes it will mean a few Saturday, Tuesdays at some point over the next couple of months but it’s not congestion.

"For players at this level matches are better than training as commitment to training and other issues are a problem at times.

"I think the biggest issue is that at the start of the season whilst the weather is nice and pitches are in good condition you seem to play only on Saturdays.

"Surely it would be better to have a game Saturday and Tuesday for the first four weeks or so then when you get to this point of the season you are not trying to put rearranged fixtures into the schedule when the pitches are mostly waterlogged and trying to get games on , on pitches that are already cut and struggling to cope with 1st team, under 18s and in some cases under 23s.

"It’s the same" every season, if more fixtures were played earlier at the start of the season you could even have a 2 week winter break in January to let pitches have a rest and time to recover.

Shoreham were relegated from the Premier Division last year and have already lost six of their ten league matches played. But Pulling said: "So far the season has gone ok , obviously I would like to have a few more points on the board at this point but we are we’re we are, and you are were you are for various reasons like players comment to training, availability because of work and family commitments.

"I think at this level it’s far more obvious to see teams that have been together for a couple of seasons and have every player turning up for matches and training week in week out. I think that’s true of the top five or six teams in this league.

"For us so far it’s been a season of a handful of good performances and then some indifferent ones. It’s also been about building along the way, we have a fairly young side in both age and the fact that it’s a squad that has only been together for a short space of time and are still really learning how each other play."

Pulling is delighted to see youth players coming through. He said: "As always with me the plus has been seeing lots of the youth team players stepping up to play for the first team.

"I always try and include a number of youth team players in a match day squad or in the starting line up. In the recent game against Chichester we had five under 18s and three players under the age of 22 involved in the squad and put in a really good performance against a virtually full strength Chichester side.

"I don’t think anyone player has really stood out yet, but I would really like to see a few of them over the next couple of weeks start to really stand up and take it upon themselves to try and do that for the team because lots of them have the potential to they just need to believe a bit more that they can."

Littlehampton Town are currently runaway leaders in Division One and Pulling believes the standard of the division is not great this season. He said: "I think there is a group of 6 teams that are away from the rest and they are competitive outside of that I think the rest including ourselves are all much of the same.

"I don’t think the standard is particularly good this season in this division or in the premier and that’s probably down to a number of factors including commitment and availability of players.

"I think as we get to the other side of the new year we will start to become more competitive against that top six group of teams and be a tough test for them when they play us."

Shoreham travel to Bexhill United on Saturday and Pulling only have one injury doubt in Dean Gilmore. Pulling said: "But if this weather keeps going on the way it is he will probably be back fit before we play another match."