Being 14 points from safety but with games in hand due to the weather, Bacup boss Brent Peters is ready to first, beat the weather and then the drop from the North West Counties Premier Division.
With less than 72 hours before Bacup & Rossendale Borough Football Club are due to host Maine Road in a vital North West Counties Premier Division fixture, the Rossendale Valley has been struck with severe snow, enough that has seen schools closed, roads only passable with extreme caution and it seems the inevitable of yet another postponement to hit the East Lancashire side that are registered as being in the top three highest grounds in the country being over 1,000 feet above sea level.
Bacup and Rossendale Borough have only played five matches in a ten week period since the 12th of November, something I spoke to their Manager Brent Peters about and how he thinks this situation is going to hamper his side getting them away from the foot of the league table when he had this to say.
“I wish that we could turn the clock back to the beginning of the season and be starting off with this current squad of players.” Peters added “we are where we are from the period really up until mid-November with a squad of young talented players that were sadly not ready for the rigorous demands of the North West Counties Premier Division is noted for. The clubs finances are such that unlike in the past I have been able to attract down the more experienced player, those days are long gone which has meant we are working with younger lads that are in a lot of ways now playing at the highest level that they have been used to. However this said during the month of December a month in which we played in one fixture, I have brought in some more experienced lads. I have got back experienced players such as Gareth Wager and Vice-Captain Shane Birtles having just recovered from a broken leg that have been a big part of the club for several seasons, so this all said I am now believing that we have a really good talented squad now that can put us into a position which will secure our Premiership status.”
Peters said “You have to take your bench mark of if the team is going in the right direction from how they are in games and how they are working as a team within their shape.” Peters added “They don’t come any better than being tested by the current league leaders Runcorn Linnets.” Peters then said “Whilst I can take a lot of positives from that game, the frustration has been since where we have not played due to postponements. Postponements are par for the course at Bacup, we are situated where we are at the top of a hill which means any adverse weather we have to contend with, this said we have always managed to keep our players conditioned and ready for the glut of games that will come in close proximity together, it will be an intense period and it always is the same hence the need for a big healthy squad.”
Peters then went on to say “This season will bring a different mentality, by this we have not been in the position at the bottom of the league where we are today, this brings with it additional pressure, this can only be relieved by playing continually and being consistent in our performances, the latter will come by having games regular not play one game and miss the next two games which is what our pattern has been. In fact since 29th of November when we played St Helens which was after a two week layoff we had to go four weeks before going to Abbey Hey on the 27th of December certainly not ideal at all and very frustrating to the point that come the end of the season, this sort of inconsistency in not playing could have far reaching consequences.”
Peters said “I don’t expect people to feel sorry for us, they no doubt will not due to the postponements, but what they must realize is that it has nothing to do with bad drainage because I would back ours amongst the best of most in the league, it is because 125 years ago someone decided to house the club at the top of a hill in an area that is notorious for adverse weather.”
However this all said “The fact I have only had this current squad together since early December, the postponements have given my staff chance to work with the boys in order to get their fitness levels right, I have been able to get them as a squad into team bonding sessions, I have been able to address the squad in its entirety just what we must be ready for and all aspects of what I have witnessed is nothing but eagerness, willingness, competitiveness, understanding, excellent team bonding, lads that want to face and relish the challenge ahead and I have the utmost respect for this current squad, I have every confidence in them giving their all to get us out of this situation I just hope this weather is not coming at a time that come end of April will see us fall short by having to squeeze too many games in a short space of time, that would be not only be a disaster but a shame to all concerned.”
Peters ended by saying “The biggest loser in all of this is the club, losers financially because even though there is no football there is no income but the lads still need conditioning, training, working, all at a financial heavy burden onto the club.”
Peters said “Some cynics will say that all that income will come back once games do come around, this is not true. When back to back home games do come in a short space of time then people choose their matches, so if games were running like they should on home and away when we are due to play sat, tues, thurs, sat, depending on opposition, we will only get fans coming to two out of four due to the cost in that short time, so to all the cynics out there, Bacup Borough are losers every season on all fronts which all comes back to its historic 125 year home at the top of an hill in an area notorious for adverse weather.”
Thanks to Jay Taylor who spoke to Brent on behalf of Non League Review.