Basford United can't wait to get going again
Rob Duffy says Basford United are relishing a return to action as they prepare for their first competitive game on Tuesday night – nearly six weeks after their last outing.
United welcome Rushall Olympic to Greenwich Avenue in the First Round Proper of the FA Trophy – a game which is allowed to go ahead behind-closed-doors following the reformed guidelines under the now-implemented Tiering system in the UK.
All Trident League matches have been curtailed following a majority vote in favour of postponing fixtures until further notice by member clubs and will be assessed at bi-weekly meetings between the UK Government, The FA and the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) throughout December.
And whilst Basford may have to wait until the New Year to continue their impressive league form which sees them sit second behind leaders Mickleover, first team coach Duffy welcomes the resumption of football, even if it is labelled as a ‘one-off’ for now.
“We’re very much looking forward to Tuesday,” he said. “We have trained this week in preparation for this game and it will be interesting to see how both we and Rushall have coped with the stop-start season and the lengthy break we have both had to endure.
“It will be down to us to decide whether this will be a one-off game before news on the league fixtures is announced. But, if we were to progress into the second round, then at least we will have another cup game to look forward to later this month.
“We were in a good place at the time of the suspension and we need the season back. We had won six on the spin and performances had improved game-by-game.
“Ideally, we would want to drop straight back into that groove and carry on from where we left off, but we’re certainly not naive enough to think that’s going to happen as easily as that.”
A win over Alvechurch on Halloween saw Steve Chettle’s side progress to this stage in what was their last game before new national lockdown measures were implemented in early November, pausing all football indefinitely.
Tier systems were introduced following the emergence from lockdown on December 2 as clubs eagerly awaited confirmation on whether their campaigns could resume depending on geographical locations.
Matches elsewhere have continued in accordance with Tier allocations and restrictions, but a vote to halt all matches in the Isthmian, Northern Premier and Southern Football Leagues was unanimously agreed two days later.
But despite awaiting an outcome on when their season can eventually restart, Duffy says United’s squad is focused and have been put through their paces away from the football club as they seek a run in the competition to team with their fine showing in the league.
“All the lads have had programmes to do in their own time,” the former-Mansfield Town and Oxford United striker added.
“They have been all uploading their data on the sessions they’ve undergone, and we have been monitoring their progress as staff.
“Nothing can ever replicate a football training session, a 90-minute match, or any other specifics that come with that, but we have certainly done our best to get the most out of the squad and we will be fully prepared for Tuesday.
“The suspension came at a really poor time for us as we were doing well. We put together a string of results in all competitions and found a bit of rhythm and consistency which was massive - we wanted that to continue.
“A trophy run would no doubt be appreciated by the Chairman and fans given the circumstances and challenges have all faced over the last nine months.
“From a football perspective, it’s very important. It’s a competitive game in a reputable competition - we are out to win.
“In addition to everything going on, it is also valued preparation for the restart of league games, so a good performance, and hopefully a win, will help us hit the ground running for when we finally return, whenever that may be.”
The game will played behind-closed-doors, with fans able to follow the game via live commentary, as well as all social media outlets on the night.