Belfast Telegraph

Heavy early schedule risks injuries, says Ronnie McFall

By Stuart McKinley

Portadown manager Ronnie McFall has hit out at the Danske Bank Premiership fixture planners after they scheduled three matches in the opening week of the season.

The Shamrock Park chief, who is the longest serving manager in Europe having been in charge of the Ports since December 1986, believes that part-time players who are just out of pre-season aren't ready for such a heavy programme of games.

And he fears that those who run the league are leaving players at risk of picking up injuries.

"I can't understand why we are playing the second league game in midweek after just starting the season on Saturday," said McFall, whose team face Warrenpoint Town at Shamrock Park this evening.

"Players are made to play three times in a week when they are still building up towards full fitness and it leaves them vulnerable to injuries.

"I know there might be limited dates for matches, but I don't know how this round of fixtures couldn't be fitted in further down the line when teams are up to speed."

The Northern Ireland Football League's reason for putting a round of midweek matches into the first week of the season is to start the campaign with a bang and hopefully get fans coming through the turnstiles to watch their team on a late summer evening.

Belfast Telegraph


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