Injuries and postponements have forced the UCA Player-Coach to take to the pitch – but not just yet, as Tom Lunn reports.
Player-Coach Daniel Mountney will have to put his playing career return on hold once more as the game against UCFB (University College of Football Business) was postponed, due to poor playing conditions and fog at Farnham Park.
Mountney was looking forward to a prompt return to UCA football after the long Christmas break but was forced to put the boots back up for at least another week. He said: “It’s a bit disappointing because I am really looking forward to playing again but, it gives me another week to prepare. I’ve not played in a six months so it’s important for me that I feel physically ready so an extra week might be a blessing in disguise.”
Mountney is ready and confident to play for a team he’s already familiar with, saying: “We’ve played really well so far and it’s a great group to be involved in. I’m excited to see what the season holds and what we can achieve. I don’t think combining playing and coaching will be an issue, I usually get involved in most training sessions, the most important thing is that I continue to try and lead the team, be vocal and keep us moving in the right direction both from the side-lines and now on the pitch.”
Defender Matthew Swinnerton fractured his leg during the winter break and will be out for the rest of the season and leaves the gap for Mountney to help UCA continue their fine form in the league. The team will eventually hold both a player-manager and a player-coach within the team to help strengthen the side.
Mountney confirmed: “The game against UCFB has been rescheduled for March 22nd, and could turn out to be a title decider, you never know. We’ve got a bit of a packed scheduled but I think it could help us in the long run by keeping us fit and sharp. We’ve got a few players out with injuries and some just coming back but we’ve got a big enough and talented enough squad to manage.”
UCA Farnham will continue their unwanted hiatus from league football until next week after successive matches were called off in November and December of last year. Due to the postponement, it becomes the third successive home game for UCA Farnham to be delayed. UCA must now play six games in seven weeks.
Mountney said: “Granted, it was likely the first one [game] would have been called off because of a frozen pitch but, it’s just the frustration of having the game called off for circumstances that are out of our control.”
Amid the frustration, the team will need to find time to fit in the rearranged game amid an already packed schedule in the league and the players’ courses at University.
It’s difficult for all players to keep up appearances within a flurry of games and Player-Manager Luke Hosken is no different, as Mountney highlighted the strain: “Luke, for example, is going to find it hard to play as he has a dissertation to do. It’s not fair on him or others in the same position.”
Hosken also said: “I’m disappointed the games had to be called off. As I say though, these things happen.”
This isn’t the first time this fixture has had to be rescheduled. In December, the game was called off due to administrative errors and subsequently booked for yesterday, UCA will now regroup and get ready for the next fixture.