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Bury boss David Flitcroft calls for festive fixtures re-think
DAVID Flitcroft has urged the FA to listen to medical experts and cut back the number of games in the festive fixture schedule.
The Bury boss voiced his concerns after seeing a glut of his best players sidelined by muscle injuries over the past few weeks, which have included four matches in 12 days.
Full-back Shaun Beeley and midfielders Tom Soares and Danny Mayor all picked up hamstring strains over that period, while captain Craig Jones missed games with a groin injury.
And while Flitcroft appreciates the lure of increased attendances over the holidays, he believes fans are actually being short-changed.
“One day I hope the FA might listen to some medical advice,” he said.
“The matches have taken their toll on us, and we have been forced to utilise the whole squad.
“We have seen our players put at risk of picking up injuries that could keep them out for up to 10 weeks.
“They may never get fully fit again for the remainder of the season.
“At the top level, you have got the likes of Luis Suarez and players on £200,000 a week and you are putting those players at risk, while possibly denying the paying public the chance to watch them.
“It is an energy overload. I know the fans love it, but I think we have got to become more intelligent with how we stage games.”
While Flitcroft has had to dip into Bury’s scant reserves to put a team out, he admits the injury problems have at last afforded him the chance to get better acquainted with his players.
He fielded a total of 19 different players in his first four matches in charge, paying close attention to those on loan, with most of their deals due to run out after yesterday’s match at Hartlepool.
Beeley and Dean Howell have been allowed to return to Fleetwood Town, while Brian Jensen and Anton Forrester have been tied up on longer term deals, with talks on-going with Daniel Nardiello on extending his stay from Rotherham.
And Flitcroft added: “We are in that phase where I want to find out everything I can about this squad.
“Anton Forrester (of Blackburn) possibly needed to go back, so I wanted to see what the kid had got.
“It was a case of me finding out everything about the players that I have got so we can recruit beyond that.”
That recruitment drive is expected to continue today following yesterday's arrival of defenders James Burke and Frederic Veseli, with a host of permanent and loan signings anticipated before Bury's next match at Chesterfield on January 11.
“We’ve been moving on things. We are getting closer, no doubt about that,” Flitcroft said.
“It’s been difficult to pull it all together, but myself and the chairman have done a lot of miles in the car, meeting people, and we have got some good leads.
“It’s important we get the right characters into that dressing room and we’ve had a positive week. Deals are very close.”
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