County league sides frustrated by weather - and hoping for thaw

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CHICHESTER City were victims of the cold snap twice as their weekend County League game and midweek Sussex Senior Cup games were both called off.

All games were called off last Saturday and the weather struck again on Tuesday night as the second-round cup tie against East Grinstead Town was also postponed.

City boss Adie Girdler says the effort gone into preparing for matches being wasted is naturally frustrating.

He told the Observer: “It’s very frustrating when games are called off because we do work on things, things you want to put right and your plan of play.

“You’re gearing yourself up for it and thinking about it all the time and your mind focuses to the next game without even playing a game, so its frustrating from a player’s and manager’s point of view.

“It’s hard to keep players’ minds focused when you’re not playing, especially when we’ve been on the good run we’ve been on – you keep going and playing well and some of that is down to the motivation of the players because they want to get out there and play again.

“All that is lost by stopping. I think it’s down to us to get the players motivated - we will be sitting them down and talking about motivation in terms of the Eastbourne game - doing a circuit at the club house and just generally trying to get them mentally prepared and focused.”

Girdler also revealed the club are putting a special focus on making the atmosphere at Chichester less frosty too, with a new programme to cut down on bad language.

He said: “We’re clamping down with zero tolerance on bad language from the players. We’re trying to improve the actual discipline of the whole football club, which is not bad but we’ve got to aim to do better.

“That will trickle through the reserves and the under-18s. Myself and Dave Kelly have spoken at length with the players – we’re trying to get younger people to support the football club, and we want to be supported by our own youth coming through the turnstiles and other members of the Chichester public who want to watch their football team play.

“It’s one thing that you’re playing well and playing nice football and another that nobody wants to be subjected to hearing bad language bounded around the ground. Hopefully that goes around the county as well.

“Our disciplinary record is not bad, to be honest, but I don’t want to be losing players from fruitless yellow cards for dissent and bad language. From the league’s point of view referees are being told to clamp down in it too.”

Oaklands Way hosts Eastbourne United on Saturday - weather permitting - and all parties will have their fingers crossed Chichester can get back into the action.

Adrian Brockway and James Searle will be available for the game after recovering from injuries, while Tom Broadbent is back from his three-game suspension.

Selsey were no exceptions to the weather last Saturday as their away trip to Lingfield was postponed due to snow.

Ian Martin’s side now hope that Saturday’s game at Ringmer goes ahead in order to continue their good run of form.

After last week’s 3-3 draw against Redhill, Selsey are unbeaten in three matches and sit 12th in the County League table.

Martin said: “Everyone will just pick up as best they can and get back into training and prepare the side for the game at the weekend. On a personal note, I hate football being off because it means you have to find something else to do on a Saturday!

“But from a footballing point of view it was quite handy because I had some influential players out. They should be back for the weekend game, as the guys that were unavailable had other commitments and should be free.”

The break in fixtures allows for focuses to be switched to off-field matters, and Martin praised the investment going into the High Street Ground.

He said: “There seems to be quite a good feelgood factor around the place now we’re playing good football and there’s a tremendous spirit between the teams with good social events coming up in the Christmas period.”

MARK ALLAWAY