Bury Town's Olly Hughes keen to get back to competitive action as soon as possible
They may be facing at least a month without any action but Bury Town’s Olly Hughes sees no point in staging friendlies or weekend coaching sessions once the second Covid-19 lockdown is lifted.
Instead, the club’s vice captain – who continues to carry the captain’s armband in Ollie Fenn’s long-term injury absence – favours getting back to the cut and thrust of the Pitching In Isthmian League as soon as possible.
While accepting clubs will need time to prepare to stage games and managers would want to work on plans for upcoming opponents, he said it was a simply a viewpoint from a player’s perspective.
“It does not make any odds to me whether we restart playing now or the other side of Christmas,” said the forward who has three goals in 11 games this term.
“You cannot regain match fitness in a week and all you can do in the meantime is keep yourself ticking over.
“From my point of view those who will take responsibility and look after their fitness will do that and will be ready to go from that first Saturday.
“I honestly don’t see the point in friendlies as it’s just another couple of games you are putting strain on bodies.”
With the lockdown restrictions currently set to be lifted going into Wednesday, December 2, the earliest Bury could return would be Saturday, December 5 at Coggeshall Town (3pm).
There is then a one-week gap before they would host Histon, though the lockdown will have seen seven of their matches postponed that will now need to be rearranged.
A step down the pyramid, the Thurlow Nunn League has recently informed clubs that they could either play their first league fixtures once restrictions had been loosened, or use the date for training and friendly matches.
The league also confirmed the 2020/21 end date has been pushed back three weeks until May 15.
It is understood the Pitching In Isthmian League, who were unavailable for comment at the time of going to press, are yet to lay out any options to their clubs on the restart.
Despite only playing four games – half the amount of some of the sides around them – Bury lie fourth in the Isthmian League’s North Division. And 33-year-old Hughes believes they have a great shot of realising their promotion ambition this time around.
“Our league form has been really impressive and although we really should have seen it out in our last home game against Romford (2-2) we are still unbeaten,” he said.
“We are playing great football and I think it is a brand of football that people want to watch and come and support.
“Ben (Chenery, manager) has made improvements every year and I think it is the best squad collectively we have had. But you win nothing on paper and the challenge now is to keep finding those levels we had.
“We know we have the ability and work-rate and now it is just about proving it and hopefully we won’t get stopped short again like last year.
“The difference with the league this year is no one is running away, there are strange results every week.
“It could just take one team to go on a run from Christmas like Brightlingsea Regent did.”
Meanwhile, Bury’s Norwich City loanee goalkeeper Joe Rose has won the division’s AB1 Golden Gloves Award for October and November for Bury after statistically having the meanest defence with only one goal conceded so far.
“Joe Rose has been phenomenal for us in goal,” added Hughes.