CONCORD RANGERS manager, Danny Scopes, is pleased the club have received clarity over their unplayed Buildbase FA Trophy semi-final with Halesowen Town, insisting it is a boost to everyone connected with both clubs that their Wembley dream remains a possibility.
The Beach Boys are due to take on the West Midlanders over two-legs with the winners facing either Harrogate Town or Notts County in the showpiece event at the National Stadium. However, following the suspension and subsequent early conclusion of domestic non-league football, it was feared that the FA Trophy would follow suit. But the Football Association have suggested they will be looking to complete the competition, once it is safe to do so, which will come as a lift to players and fans alike at the Aspect Arena and their Black County opponents.
“Yes, obviously the club has been on at the FA for some clarity, although we understand the circumstances. But the information we have had back has been positive and they are determined to try to finish the competition, whenever that might be.” the Concord chief told Yellow Sport.
“It is still a bit strange because we don’t know when that is going to be and we don’t who that will be with, personnel-wise. The longer this situation goes on, the more difficult that becomes.
“I think the bottom line of it is that for the clubs benefit that we get an opportunity to play a semi-final and a chance to get to Wembley. We just want that opportunity. Whatever happens in that game – Halesowen are in the same position as us as well – over two legs, whatever happens, happens. But both clubs would just like that opportunity to play the game whenever that will be.”
Scopes spoke about the difficulty in preparing for a match without a set date as well as preparing for footballs return once the coronavirus pandemic has passed.
“Our league season would have finished a couple of weeks ago. Had we played and won the semi-final, that would have been a nice extension to the campaign.
“We had worked with the group on lockdown as hard as we possibly could, just to try keeping them ticking over. We had a regular fitness programme sent to them every week to keep them going and give them some ideas to go with their individual routines.
“But its a strange situation we are in with the squad. Some of the boys might want to move on? Some want to re-sign – we are not sure where we are at?”
Scopes continued: “Currently, we are talking to the players, trying to see where their heads are at. Looking beyond that, we are just planning as normal for a pre-season and to come back at the end of June to start.
“We are going to plan for that and then adjust accordingly. We are just talking to the players on their thought process and want to maintain a core of the group we had from last season. Obviously, we will talk to a few potential recruits, people we have targeted and who have shown interest to come in for pre-season.
“We are putting plans in place on the player-side and are holding regular management meetings with the groups and coaches just to try and find better ways to work and how to improve – a good, honest review of what did and didn’t do well. If we can incorporate all of this then it makes for a better season next time.”