Worsbrough Bridge manager Luke Forgione is relishing the anticipated busy schedule when the Toolstation NCEL Division One season resumes.
If the lockdown ends on December 2nd, Worsbrough have five postponed fixtures to fit in and that’s before bad weather and the danger of further lockdowns. The rest of the Non League family is in the same boat.
Bridge had only six midweek games scheduled at the beginning of the campaign, but the number could easily more than double now with postponements piling up.
“I would expect one (midweek game) every Tuesday and I would expect us to be playing Saturday-Tuesday for the rest of the season unless the league decides to extend the season,” Forgione told Non League Yorkshire.
“The midweek games aren’t really an issue for me, I love it. I love the Saturday-Tuesday games and I think it is good for you and it builds momentum.
“I know the travelling and work commitments can be an issue, but having played in the Non League system it is a routine I like and look forward to being part of.
“I’m quite positive about it because I’ve wanted to be part of it (Non League) for a few years so I’m open to anything that will complete the season. You know me, I love football so if it means doing more of it, even better.”
A heavy midweek schedule will place huge pressure on all teams, not just Worsbrough. One way to ease squad worries for a congested period would be to dual-register players from other leagues – a strategy Forgione has not ruled out.
“We’ve tried to identify players who are available to play both Saturday and Tuesdays,” he said.
“Yes we have lads who have other commitments. Dual-signing players is an option and it is something we have spoken about.
“We have dual-signed a couple of lads already. With that becomes the disadvantage of never having the same changing room environment.
“It is difficult at Non League level and there’s always going to be the odd new face at every game, but we want to try and have all the regular faces and have lads who all buy into the messages we are sending out and the culture we’re trying to create.
“Every squad we have announced so far we have had the opportunity to select from 20 players. We aren’t struggling for players at the moment and the challenge is keeping everyone happy.”
Forgione was appointed on the 7th October to succeed Lee Morris who resigned four league games into the campaign after almost three years in charge.
Although many of Morris’ side do remain on the books, Forgione has made several signings and he is still looking to add to the squad.
“It has been a bit of a continuous change, not because of performances, but work commitments, suspensions so getting a consistent team out has been difficult,” he said.
“We let two players – Kai Hancock and Sam Agar – go, but most of the experienced lads who were down there are still with us. The likes of Scott Batty, Jack Mawson, Sam Race, Rob Oldham are still there.
“Ross Pritchard wasn’t getting much game-time before, he’s a regular with us since we have been in position. Ryan Hallsworth is experienced and knows the league so he has been good for us.
“We’ve brought in new faces. Obviously we have brought in Franny (Luke Francis), Jack Cawthorn from Ponte, Owen Wildblood, Josh Bucknall and Alex Hutchinson from Rec. We’ve brought JD (Joe Dungworth) back and he scored against Glasshoughton and had one disallowed against Brigg.
“We have the likes of Billy Rhodes who has been out with a broken ankle for six to eight weeks, he’s got to come back so he’ll only strengthen us. We have Jake Ellam who has been out for four or five weeks. He’ll only come back and strengthen us as well.
“There’s been a new cohort of faces come in, but in the starting elevens it is a 50/50 split between old and new at the moment.
“We’ve identified targets who we would like to bring in, but I don’t think we need much. We need a couple more experienced lads just to help out the younger lads which we were aware of anyway. The younger lads have been performing really well and they just need more support and guidance from the older heads who will come back in.
“It is about bringing in quality, not about bringing in players for the sake of bringing players in.”
Forgione’s record as Worsbrough boss stands at one win, three draws and three defeats. The only victory was the stunning 3-0 battering of promotion chasing Skegness Town. They had zero points from four games when he was appointed and they are in touch with all the teams around them.
Content could sum up Forgione’s view, almost one week into the enforced break.
“From the outside looking you’re looking at seven games, 21 points available and we’ve got six points (since taking over),” he said.
“You can look and think it is not great I suppose. We want to be picking up more points, but in perspective we have played Emley, Skegness, Winterton and Brigg Town who will all be probably in the top six come the end of the season.
“We picked up four points of those games. We’re happy in some respects, not happy in some respects, but we’re quite balanced in our thoughts at the moments.
“We would have liked to have picked up more points, who wouldn’t. But it could have been worse. Six points from seven games, it is almost a point a game, it is not a bad start with the opposition we have faced.
“November; we were looking and thinking on paper we may be able to pick some more points up. We felt our games were more favourable so it is a bit disappointing that it has been scuppered.
“We’re three or four weeks into the job and we’re doing a lot behind the scenes to create a good changing room environment. I’ve had one training session with the players since I’ve being in the position. it is not ideal. With the situation which has arisen, I suppose we’re going to have to start again.
“It is the same for everyone else. If the lads do the work behind the scenes and look after themselves and we show the right attitude and work ethic then we may come better than some other teams. I’m sure other teams are doing things, but it may be an opportunity to start afresh.”