Promotion-seeking Emley AFC have games in hand after four matches were postponed because of the weather but boss Richard Tracey doesn’t fear a fixture pile-up.

The club has 19 fixtures in all competitions to play in just over 11 weeks and Tracey says there will have to be some strategic thinking at both league and club level to cope with the backlog.

Tracey said: “It is concerning, of course. We are currently going for promotion and we really don’t want a fixture pile-up. However, there isn’t much I can do about the weather so I am calm about the situation.

“This is exactly the reason we have gone for a bigger squad. We have brought in three more experienced players and sent some youngsters out to get more men’s football. With fixture pile-ups you can get injuries and this is why we have brought in some extra players.” 

Working a full-time job and playing three matches a week can take its toll on players and an extension to the season has to be an option.

The weather is something even football managers can’t control. Pic by: MARK PARSONS

Tracey added: “If the season was not to be extended we are running out of midweek slots to put fixtures into. Credit to the league they did extend it by a week last season.

“I have to say I was surprised that the season ends on April 8 this time around, it’s early. Hopefully it won’t come to extending the campaign but if it does I hope the league has some thoughts on this.” 

Emley are still in positive form in the league but have drawn their last two home games. Reflecting on those and the upcoming matches, Tracey said: “It has been disappointing to draw our last two home games.

“If we want to keep within touching distance of the top two we must keep winning games, especially those we have in hand.

“The 4-4 draw against Penistone was fiery and we didn’t play well up until the last 20 minutes where we scored all four of our goals.

“We played some of the best football I have seen us play since being here. The 1-1 draw with Albion Sports was annoying. They did everything to disrupt the game and we just couldn’t break them down.”

Next up for Emley is a Sheffield and Hallamshire Senior Cup quarter-final game on Tuesday January 24 against Hemsworth Miners Welfare. Following that is an away trip to Goole on Saturday January 28. 

On those fixtures Tracey added: “We want to do everything we can to be competitive in the two cup competitions we are still in and, of course, the league where we are still going for promotion. Our aims haven’t changed, we just need to think strategically about how we get through the next few weeks.” 

Finally, Tracey spoke about the three new players who have just arrived at the Fantastic Media Welfare Ground. 

“We have signed Elliot Harrison from Brighouse Town, Stephen Smith from Tadcaster and Junayd Cassius-Gill from Eccleshill and Ossett,” he said.

“What these players give us is that ability to add more seniority to the squad. I now have 18 Northern Counties East League Premier Division starters.

“If everyone is fit two of them will have to miss out. However, with the potential for injuries and suspensions, we felt we needed to bring these players in and that is what we’ve done.”