No rest over Christmas for Staffordshire and Cheshire’s non-league footballers

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Most of us spend Christmas Day opening presents, eating too much turkey and spending time with families.

Spare a thought for those non-league footballers in Staffordshire and Cheshire running around the pitch on a freezing cold Boxing Day.

Christmas one of the busiest times in the football season as the games come thick and fast.

Non-league football teams have five games each between December 21 and the January 1.

Nantwich Town manager Danny Johnson said it is an arduous task.

He said: “It is horrible.

“I have got three young children and I really want to spend time with them and be with them over Christmas.

“It is one of the downfalls of being in non-league or professional football and I suppose we should get on with it.”

Players are allowed to go and let their hair down, but Johnson said he will be checking his players’ fitness at the Weaver Stadium.

Johnson, who has been involved in football for over 15 years, said: “It is not about the games but about how a players looks after themselves.

“I know that over the years, it’s the players who are out New Year’s Eve and Christmas and have had a few beers who are not ready on the Saturday for the game.

Leek Town manager Lee Casswell said he was also gearing up for a business-as-usual festive season.

Casswell said: “It exciting.

“We have two great home ties over Christmas.

“We’re playing Market Drayton on Boxing Day which will be really tough.

“Then we have a big tie against Scarborough Athletic, who are on a run of form which is second to none and they are scoring goals for fun.

“I see them as a real dark horse, so I just think we need to focus.

“We are top of the league and think about teams coming up and there are more points available.

“But what we have to do is slow down and take each game as it comes.”

Hednesford Town striker Greg Pearson has played in both the Football League and Non-league football and knows what it is like to be a part-time and full-time footballer.

Pearson, who has played for West Ham United and Burton Albion, said: “We play all the games that you play as a professional footballer.

“The fixture list is more interesting for the fans as you play your local rivals.

“But apart from that, it is business as normal as far as I am concerned.”

 

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