Ilford’s Fenn feels for FA Vase heroes
- Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO
Foxes boss discusses Bowers fixture schedule and looks ahead to three games in six days
Ilford manager Allan Fenn believes it is ridiculous that Bowers & Pitsea are being forced to play 23 times in the space of two months.
The two clubs will do battle twice this week in the Essex Senior League with the first meeting at the Len Salmon Stadium tonight (Thursday).
Foxes will then entertain Bowers again at Cricklefield on Wednesday.
The Essex side’s success in the FA Vase this season, where they reached the semi-finals of the competition, has caused them to have a massive backlog of league fixtures.
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By the end of their campaign, on April 26, Bowers would have played over 20 times in the space of 60 days.
“It is a ridiculous situation,” said Fenn. “I know you have rules and regulations, but you have a team that has done so well in the Vase and now they are being made to play Saturday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday.
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“People need to remember they are semi-professionals, not professionals. They have to work on building sites or in offices. To put their bodies under this stress and strain is just ridiculous.
“Why can’t the season be put back a couple of weeks to May or even just until the end of April. Give them some grace. It is borderline dangerous what they are doing now.”
It is well documented the admiration Fenn has for Bowers, but despite that he is determined to beat them twice over the next six days.
The Foxes also have to host Greenhouse on Saturday, meaning they face a challenging end to the month.
“I have a lot of respect for Bowers as a club and their manager Rob Small,” said Fenn.
“For a young manager to take them over and achieve what he has in such a short space of time deserves recognition. But from our point of view, we really want to take six points off them.
“We know what we are up against and I’ve given the boys the week off so they can get over any illness or niggles they might have. We have a full side to pick from so we are really looking forward to the challenge.”
Fenn welcomed back Elias Armah-Tackie to his squad on Saturday and his half-time introduction helped inspire a 4-2 win at Eton Manor.
The hosts led 2-0 at the break, but goals from Karolis Atutis, Carl Mullings, Paul Clayton and Joe Hall inspired a fine comeback victory.
Ilford’s players are now getting ready to all play a part in this hectic period.
“We’re looking forward to part one of the battle with Bowers. It is an opportunity for us to use the squad wisely,” added Fenn.
“Greenhouse have already beaten Wadham Lodge and Barking this month. They have a very dangerous midfield and a forward who will run his proverbials off, so that will be difficult, but we’re focusing on Bowers away first.”