We used to play in conditions like this

A PROFESSIONAL for nearly 20 years, Wrexham striker Gareth Taylor struggles to recall too many occasions in the past when the country’s football programme has been so disrupted by the weather.

For the second year in succession the wintry conditions mean that the Dragons’ Christmas and New Year fixtures have been postponed, adding to a backlog that has already caused three Blue Square Bet Premier games to be rearranged for later in the season.

“It just seems to get worse every year, to be honest,” said the 37-year old veteran. “I’ve noticed that we seem to be getting more games called off every year. About 10 years ago it was one or two, but now it’s almost creeping into double figures. We got close to that last season and it could be the same again this year.”

Tonight’s scheduled trip to Barrow was the latest disappointment for Taylor, who was reminded of the good old days when later watching televised highlights of the Championship match between Ipswich Town and Leicester City that was played despite a blizzard.

“When I first started in the game we would play in the snow,” added Taylor. “I was watching the Ipswich game on Saturday evening and remembered that we used to play in conditions like that.

“Obviously, the big problem you get is if the pitch is frozen under the snow, but if that’s not the case and you can clear the snow, I’d rather just get on with it and play.”

But Taylor, one of several players rested by manager Dean Saunders for the FA Trophy first round victory over Kidderminster Harriers nearly a fortnight ago, reckons Wrexham’s training facilities – which include their all-weather pitch – and the depth of the Dragons squad will stand them in good stead when normal service is resumed.

“Fortunately we are able to do some sort of activity, so we are getting one-up on other clubs, but whether it counts or not when the games are played remains to be seen,” he said. “All we can do is to make the best of what we’ve got and that’s what we are doing at the minute.

“The lads who came in against Kidderminster did great and that’s what we need. I think we have got enough players at this club to field two teams capable of giving anyone a game. We must have that strength in depth and we have made a decent charge over the last couple of months.

“Now we just need to hang in there, try and get into the play-off spots and then cement our place there. With the fixtures piling up now the whole squad will come into play and we had the same thing last year.”

The weather apart, a long run in the FA Trophy could add further to the Dragons’ midweek burden in the New Year, but Taylor reckons the players coped well enough with a similar schedule earlier this season.

“If you look back to just before the Kettering game, which was my first start of the season, we played Saturday and Tuesday for about four weeks and we got on a really good run,” he added. “We were picking up quite a few points and hopefully it will be the same this time.

“The games are going to be coming thick and fast and, although we haven’t got too many at the moment, before you know it we’ll be in there playing and we have to be ready and at the top of our game. Obviously the squad system will come into play when that happens.

“Our involvement in the FA Trophy is another consideration, but one that is good to have on board. If we go as far as we can, possibly to the latter stages, all of a sudden we are only a couple of games away from playing at Wembley and that would be fantastic.”


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