Belford’s thoughts as squad resume training

Manager Courtney Belford says it’s great to have his squad training together again ahead of a potential league re-start.

The Midland Football League season remains suspended until at least 19th December pending a review of government tiers.

But yesterday’s FA confirmation that home fans can attend matches in tier three areas has provided fresh optimism of a quick resumption.

In preparation for that, AFC have organised a behind-closed-doors friendly away to Highgate United tomorrow with another in the pipeline for next week.

Belford says it’s been a relief to get his squad back together after a seven match unbeaten run was halted by lockdown. He said: “We trained on Saturday which was our first get together since the lockdown, and we had a good session.

“We’re after a bit of everything (in the friendlies). First and foremost we want to get the lads some game time and get back into good habits.

“We’ll take everybody over to Highgate and give everyone some minutes. The other game next week is a game we’ll need for fitness and to see where we’re at against a higher level side. 

“It’s not about the results but we need to get that match fitness back. We’re desperate to play.”

He admits it’s not been easy to plan for getting players back up to full scale training, given that no re-start has been confirmed.

But he says a best case scenario is to get back underway from 19th December – and that’s what he’s preparing for: “It’s difficult because you’re hoping and praying. But we’ve got to plan for the best case scenario. If we get told to re-start from next weekend, we can’t get to Kirby Muxloe for our first game back having not done enough work.

“We’ve got two games coming up this week. They’ll be two big competitive games in terms of getting minutes into lads’ legs so we’re ready to play if we’re asked to.”

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