Player-boss vows to go on despite 'killer pause' in action
- Credit: Daniel Mason/Archant
Robbie Mason said he will do everything he can to keep his Soham Town Rangers players engaged as the wait for a return to action looks likely to be extended.
The Greens have not played an Isthmian League North Division fixture since October 31 due to a second Covid-19 lockdown, featuring just once following the 2-1 defeat at Tilbury.
But despite an extended pause to the league season being agreed last month, tougher restrictions are expected to be announced tonight (Monday), with no return date for non-league football in sight.
“The pause is a killer, but with what’s going on, football comes second and we have to deal with it,” Mason said.
“The majority of us have been drilled every Saturday, Tuesday, playing football. But when a routine breaks down, it’s tough to deal with.”
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Soham, who won their two December friendlies, sit seventh in the league table but as they cannot build momentum on the pitch, work is being done to progress off it thanks to fitness classes.
“We’ve got a couple of personal trainers willing to help us out over Zoom fitness classes, done in living rooms, my shed,” Mason said.
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“We spend a lot of time together during the season and it’s tough to keep that mindset, so we’re trying to everything we can to keep that routine as best we can.”
Mason lost long-serving player Callum Russell, who scored 19 goals in 192 appearances for the first-team, to take up a business opportunity in Dubai.
Star striker Sam Mulready is returning to fitness following injury, as Rangers look to replace the 23-year-old sooner rather than later.
But although it’s uncertain whether the regular season can be resumed, Mason, who marked four years in charge last month, is left with little options.
“It will definitely be hard to replace him because you’ve got a utility side to him that he could play anywhere,” he said.
“It looks like it could be another lockdown, then two weeks from whenever the league say we can prepare, so we’re probably looking at the end of February, early March.
“We’re not going to get around 33 games in that period, so it looks like it won’t be a full season no matter what.
“When you’ve got limited funds, and with lads unsure what’s going on, we can’t approach players because no one knows what’s going on, so it’s a case of working with what we’ve got.”