Fixture backlog means priorities change for Wokingham & Emmbrook FCBy Adam Lee
January 13, 2010
Wokingham & Emmbrook manager Wayne Wanklyn admits he may have to put the team’s cup ambitions on the back burner if they are to seal promotion into the Hellenic Premier Division.
The Satsumas have led the way in Hellenic Division 1 East almost from week one, and are hot favourites to maintain their form until the end of the season.
But having failed to play since a 2-1 defeat of Finchampstead on December 12, Wanklyn admits the possibility of fixture congestion is becoming a real issue for the club.
Only Milton United have played fewer games than Wokingham this season, while they still find themselves in three cup competitions, the Berks & Bucks Intermediate Cup, the Reading Senior Cup and the Bluefin Insurance Brokers Challenge Cup.
And with their Bluefin Challenge Cup game with Wantage Town (set to be played last night) postponed and their county cup game with Padbury United on Saturday likely to follow suit, Wokingham’s fixture backlog is only getting worse.
Therefore Wanklyn has suggested that he may be forced to rest his first-team players for the cup games in order to keep them fresh for their hectic title run in.
“It’s a bit frustrating because we were ahead of our games and on track right up until this weather came along – we hadn’t had a game called off and were well in front,” said the former Reading FC midfielder.
“It’s turned the other way round now with us being in the cup competitions, and the plan will have to change for the next part of the season.
“I have welcomed the cup games because we have been playing well and winning, but I might have to view that differently now.
“I can’t say too much yet because I don’t know how the fixtures are looking, but I don’t want to compromise our position in the league.
“We had some good games lined up (over the Christmas period), but there’s nothing you can do about that now.
“We are still in a really good position and we’ll just have to pick up where we left off when we get back into it – sometimes a rest can do you the world of good and I think everybody will be really looking forward to playing again.”
Wanklyn also revealed that star forward James Wise will also miss most of 2010 as he will have to go under the knife to correct a long-term knee injury.
But the boss maintains he has the players to cope in Wise’s absense.
“I have had a few injury problems so the break will also give them the chance to recover,” he said.
“Billy Elgar is back training while Ben Rice isn’t far away, but James Wise is not in good shape and needs reconstructive surgery on his knee.
“That’s a real shame. He’s not going to play again this season and it’s really not looking likely for the start of next year as well.
“He has been great for us and I really like him as a footballer.
“He’s bright and strong on the ball and gets his fair share of goals.
“That’s the difference this year, though. If we had lost him last year it would have been very difficult to replace him, and although it is still difficult, Luke Lee has had a great season and Shane Cooper-Clark has got himself eight or nine goals.
“When I’ve got players that can do that, it softens the blow from a team point of view.
“I’d still love to have Wisey available, though.”