NELSON boss Paul Paynter remains optimistic about his side’s chances of finishing in the top half of the table this season, despite them not having played a league game in over two months.
The Blues’ last outing was a 3-2 away win against Cheadle Town on November 19th, but since then the weather has been Nelson’s most difficult opponent.
Two weeks ago the team were able to complete 60 minutes of their First Division Trophy game against Formby, before the game had to be abandoned due to floodlight failure.
After a disastrous start to the season, which included a 9-1 opening day mauling at the hands of promotion-chasing Irlam, things were beginning to look a little brighter for Nelson before their extended winter break.
The Blues had managed to collect seven points from a possible nine, bagging seven goals in the process, however, since then they have been reduced to simple training sessions.
Even with so many of their games being called off, Paynter has been able to draw plenty of positives from the situation: “We haven’t played since November, so it’s not ideal.
“Every Saturday, if our match is called off, we hold a training session since all the lads are together.
“We hold a training session once a week, just to make sure the lads stay fit.
“We are definitely not the fittest team in the league but we’ve coped well despite the lack of games.
“We’ve got a few Asian lads at the club and their fluid intake is really good, so that certainly helps matters.”
The lack of matches has allowed the Blues boss to concentrate on adding much needed support to his squad: “We’ve got a lot of new lads signed on, so the extra numbers will help us cope with the amount of games we’ve got to play.
“Some of the new signings are untried so we need to take a look at them, but they’ve added to the depth of the squad.”
Despite the lack of games, Paynter has dismissed the idea of moving the league to the summer months: “I’m a keen cricketer, so I’m a bit biased.
“It’s difficult to tell when games are going to be called off.
“Our bad spell came in November and December last year and this year it’s been around December and January, so it’s a bit hard to say when it’ll come.
“Maybe a winter break would be a good idea, though it’s very unpredictable when the games are going to be called off.”
Although Nelson currently find themselves just one place off the foot of the table, Paynter sees no reason to be disheartened and has already set his sights on a successful run of games in the spring: “We’re only nine points off the top 10, so if results go our way I can see us creeping up the table.
“I’ve got a keen team here. This is my first season in charge so I’m still learning and things are positive behind the scenes.
“I’m feeling confident as the manager and I can see us moving up in to the top 10 by the end of the season.
“With 40, maybe 45 games per season, it’s not as challenging as other leagues higher up.”
Nelson’s next game is away at mid-table Oldham Boro tomorrow, with the whole squad hoping that they can finally kick-off 2012 with a win.