Paul MacFarland believes a break in fixtures has come at the “perfect time” for his Eastwood CFC squad.
His side topped the pile early season following a ten-game unbeaten run in the CMFL Black Dragons Badges Division South that stretched into the middle of October.
Results have been up and down in the eight league games since with four wins and four defeats seeing them move from pole position in to fifth in the table at Christmas.
There will be no competitive Boxing Day action for Eastwood this year, though a charity match has been organised at the ground, with the first team next in action on January 2, 2016, against Southwell City.
And MacFarland says the rest - both physically and mentally - will stand the team in good stead for the rest of the campaign.
He said: “It’s come at a perfect time for us. I think being top of the league early on in the season has taken a bit out of us and we’ve lost the last three on the bounce now.
“We have lost a lot of players - five players are out through injury - so it will give us time to get them right while also get the new ones we’ve bought in up to speed.
“It’s a chance to rejuvenate. We had a tough start to the season, playing Saturday and Tuesday most weeks and now other teams will be catching us up in games played.
“It’ll give us chance to put those defeats to bed and reflect on the first half of the season. When we come back against Southwell they lads will be focused for the run in.”
Work on the new artificial 3G pitch at Coronation Park could begin as soon as January and MacFarland wants his players to be refreshed for the challenges that lay ahead.
“I could still get them in training but I think the rest will be more beneficial,” he said. “We could be on the road for quite a long time and so they’ll need to be ready for that.
“The team have progressed. The hard work they’ve put in over pre-season has put them on a pedestal. They’ve been able to answer the questions being asked of them and we’ll need to in the new year.
“I definitely prefer being this end of the table to not. I have been in the game for a long time now and it’s always harder to stay at the top. The break will help with that and make sure we’re ready.”
Reflecting on the last 12 months, he added: “It’s certainly been a journey. It couldn’t have got much worse when I took over. There was always going to be an improvement, it was just how much we could do.
“The club is growing on and off the pitch. We’ve had to make strides off it and we’ve won awards for team of the month, hospitality and fair play and it’s little things like that that make a big difference.
“There’s still a lot to learn but we’re progressing as a club off the field and that will rub off on matters going on the field. We are starting to build a proper football club again.”
- Coronation Park will host a charity inter-club football match on Saturday, December 26, 2015, to raise money for the Tuberous Sclerosis Association. Kick off 11am. Free entry. Bar open from 11am. Drinks and food available. All welcome.