Nelson boss Paul Paynter remains positive despite his side not having played a game since mid-November.
Last weekend’s cup match against Formby Town was postponed for an unbelievable fifth time following the freezing temperatures that engulfed the region.
Nelson will rendezvous with Formby again on Valentines Day, but to begin with, Paynter has set his sights firmly on tomorrow’s match with the team that currently sit at the top of the North West Counties League First Division tree.
Abbey Hey are two points clear at the top and have played eight games more than the Blues.
With these facts in mind, the Nelson boss admits that this game will certainly put his players to the test: “They’re a very useful side who are top of the league.
“We got beat 5-1 by them back in October, so no doubt it will be a tough game.
“Only time will tell if we are still up to speed.
“I’m a believer that match fitness is very different to regular fitness, but I feel the lads aren’t too bad as regards to fitness and they’re all pretty clean living.”
Should the game go ahead, Paynter is hopeful of incorporating some new players in to his first team and is excited at the prospect of finally seeing them in action: “We get a chance to test out some of the new lads in this game because it’s a league match and there are no rules regarding registration like there are in the cup.
“I’ve been wanting to test them out for around four, five or six weeks now, so it’ll be great if they finally get to play.”
Even with this season’s 12-week interval, Paynter remains adamant that the league doesn’t need to be moved to the summer months, but has instead suggested alternative ways to avoid such breaks in the future: “Stretching the season in to the summer months won’t really help in my opinion.
“When you’re playing year in year out for 10 or 15 years you need a break at some point.
“Rather than move the season, I’d rather steps be taken to improve playing surfaces, maybe cover pitches during the winter weather.”
Despite the teams prolonged break, Paynter has started to plan for the upcoming fixtures and is hopeful that Nelson’s exile will come to an end very soon: “There are a lot of teams in the same boat as us, not playing matches and only training for an hour, hour and a half each week, but I feel we’re not too far off where we want to be.
“It has forecasted snow for this weekend, but the pitch is in good nick and I remain hopeful that the game will go ahead.
“We’ll all be keeping our fingers crossed.
“We’ll hopefully be able to play two games in four days, so we’ll be able to get a feel of where we are and what we can improve.”