Harrogate League: Festive excess may blight title-chasing Clifford after two-month wait, worries boss

Clifford manager Matt Wilson

Clifford manager Matt Wilson

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Frustrated Clifford manager Matt Wilson admitted his title-chasing squad were lacking fitness heading into the crunch second half of the season.

Clifford have been without a match for the last two months due to the wintry weather and their Barkston Ash Cup semi-final clash at home to Wetherby Athletic was postponed for a third time on Saturday.

Clifford's Sam Farthing against Knaresborough Celtic

Clifford's Sam Farthing against Knaresborough Celtic

"It’s very frustrating,"said Wilson.

“I have not known it to be this bad. We have had a lot of games called off but I don’t think we have ever had eight in a row. I just hope it’s a freak season.”

The village side last played on November 7 when beating Leyburn United 4-2 at home. Prior to that, Wilson’s men were ripping up the Premier Division with six wins out of seven league matches.

Wilson is worried the long wait for fixtures has set his side back – especially with a visit to top of the table Rawdon Old Boys on the agenda this Saturday.

He added: "There is a worry that players will get disinterested with it. Every Saturday morning I am telling them that the game has been called off.

"We are training every Tuesday and hopefully that is keeping everybody ticking over. But I wouldn’t say everyone is in good shape. There’s a few that need to be doing more away from what the club is putting on.

"A couple of the lads have had a heavy Christmas so we will see what happens. If we can get a point on Saturday it stands us in good stead for the run-in.

"Even though Bedale have yet to lose a game, I still believe any team that finishes above Rawdon will win the league."