Bohemian FC veteran Ian Morris believes the congested SSE Airtricity League fixture list beggars belief. The Gypsies operate on a part time basis meaning many of their first team players combine their commitment to the club with full time jobs.
They have played 15 games in all competitions in the last nine weeks which has stretchered their squad to the limit. Morris feels the toll that schedule takes is starting to show: “We have lads that are doing 40 hours a week work without anything to do with football.
“It’s a case of we get home from Derry away at 2:30am and there’s lads up at 5am to go to work, that’s where the part time comes in, you’re getting three or four hours sleep then you’re up and doing an 8 or 9 hour day then you’re back in the next day at 6pm to train again.
“There’s not much you can that night with the players that played, you’re off Wednesday but you’re not off, you’re just not training but you’re still doing another 8 hours work, the energy levels are going to be way down.”
The Gypsies play St Patrick’s Athletic on Friday night before a game with Waterford on Monday, they have to travel to Sligo on the Friday before going to Dundalk the following Tuesday. The grueling schedule will see them playing 5 games in 12 days. Morris can’t see the sense in the FAI arranging a schedule that goes against their best practices for rest and recuperation.
“It’s very surprising, every coaching course that’s done with the FAI there’s a module on periodisation and that’s controlling the loads and making sure the loads are right, for them to be teaching that at every level and not brought in to the top league in the country, it doesn’t add up.
“I think the gaffer (Keith Long) brought up about the lack of consultation with managers, I know they do it at underage levels where there are managers meetings and they air any grievances but it’s not happening at the top level where everyone wants to league to be better and improve, it’s not much to hold a meeting or to ask questions or to implement what you’re trying to teach.”
Bohs have struggled this season in the league and have won just three games so far, they got bragging rights in the Dublin derbies at Dalymount and Tallaght with victories over Shamrock Rovers before beating bottom side Bray Wanderers. Morris feels their struggles could stem from a lack of proper time to prepare:
“It doesn’t add up, the whole preparation in between you’re not doing anything you’re just letting lads recover, you’re not doing as much tactical work or getting as much physical work into players you’re just trying to let them recover.
“You have to split the squad so lads that didn’t play need to do a bit so lads that have played can’t do much so it does get a bit sloppy in terms of getting everyone prepared and training together when you’re splitting your group as well which is a problem because you’re not having everyone together fighting for a starting place, it does get very frustrating and its difficult to manage and I’m sure the coaches and managers are pulling their hair out with the fixture list.”
Ian Morris was a guest on Off The Ball's League of Ireland podcast. Jamie Moore and Darren Cleary bring you interviews, reaction and coverage from the League of Ireland every Wednesday on OffTheBall.com