Backlog backlash

Buxton Manager John Reed
Buxton Manager John Reed

THE EVO-STIK League has come under fire from Buxton FC manager John Reed following its decision not to extend the Premier Division season and help relieve some of the pressure on the club’s heavily-congested fixture list.

Weeks of inaction had left the Bucks faced with an unbelievable 23 league games to be played in the space of the next three months.

The first of these was scheduled to take place last night (Wednesday) against Bradford Park Avenue - only the Bucks’ third league game of 2011.

And boss John Reed (pictured above) was champing at the bit ahead of that clash: “I am so frustrated (by not playing), as I am sure everyone associated with the club is too. It is getting to a really critical stage now.

“It is very concerning, but I have to keep that away from the players. I am trying to push them and push them, but they are only human beings.

“I just hope the supporters keep coming and get behind the lads. We will need every little bit of support, because in six weeks time these lads are going to be physically knackered.”

Earlier this week, the Evo-Stik League announced a five-day extension to the First Division North season, to help alleviate fixture congestion, something the Buxton manager believes should now be adopted for the Premier Division.

“I find this decision (not to extend the Premier Division campaign) absolutely incredible. Common sense cannot be on the minds of these people,” he said.

“If you look through the whole of the three divisions, we are worst off than anybody. And we’ve got a county cup semi-final and possibly a final as well.

“There was a Championship manager on the television complaining that he had to play Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday – well, welcome to the real world! We’ve got to do it for 12 consecutive weeks.

“It is going to be unbelievable, but we are going to march forward and meet that battle head on.”

League rules state all regular fixtures in the top tier must be completed by Easter Monday April 25, with the playoff semi-final taking place on the Thursday of that week and the final being held the following Bank Holiday Monday May 2.

An spokesman for the Evo-Stik League said: “The decision to extend the First Division North season until Thursday May 5 was not taken lightly.

“Following Saturday’s postponements in that division, the clubs in First Division North are now four full fixture lists behind their Premier Division and First Division South counterparts.

“This, combined with the additional bad weather faced by clubs in the North and inflexible county cup competitions in the region, made the extension unavoidable.

“There are no plans for extending the season for either the Premier Division or First Division South at this moment in time.”

Buxton return to the Silverlands on Saturday (kick-off 3pm) for the visit of Ashton United. Following a recent increase in ticket prices, admission is now £8.50 (concessions £5.50).

The following Tuesday (February 8), the Bucks travel to Chasetown for a re-arranged Premier Division fixture (kick-off 7.45pm).