Aylesbury United manager Tony Joyce has been proved correct in his prediction that tonight’s (Wednesday) Berks and Bucks Cup semi-final against Chesham United would fall foul of the wet weather for a second time.
The Ducks were due to play their former landlords in the last four of the competition at Bell Close but Joyce was doubtful the game would go ahead and has been proved right, with the game being shelved until February 12 instead.
That will also mean, as predicted, the big Aylesbury derby against rivals FC – which was due to take place on February 11 at Haywood Way – has been postponed for a second time as a result.
Joyce, who has been particularly vocal about the need for a winter break and the necessity to play three games a week from August while pitches are dry in non-league, said the miserable wet winter of washouts has left him utterly frustrated.
“I am concerned,” he said.
“It is very frustrating because it (Chesham) is one of our biggest games of the season and we have a fully fit squad at the moment who are all raring to play.
“Other than Lee Grace, who is suspended, everyone is available and we are hopeful we will get the chance to go out there and cause another upset.”
The match against the Generals was due to be played last week but it was rescheduled as the pitch at Bell Close was waterlogged.
The Ducks are looking for a second successive victory against opponents from the league above them, after they beat Burnham 1-0 in the previous round.
Joyce admitted his side would be going into the match as underdogs but added he was hopeful of another upset.
He said: “Obviously, we won’t be the favourites because Chesham are doing very well in the league, so provided we don’t do any worse than West Ham against Manchester City I won’t be too disappointed!”
United have not kicked a ball in anger for two weeks after their previous league game at home to AFC Hayes was called off at the weekend.
Joyce said: “I was optimistic that the Hayes match would go ahead however it was called off mid-morning, so that allowed us to do an extended training session.
“We are six games behind on some teams in the division and although we are well-placed at the moment, we are looking to consolidate our league position and aiming to improve.”
Joyce added that he felt his squad had overachieved so far this season.
He said: “At the start of the season, your first thought is that you will take fourth from bottom!
“I am very pleased with how the season has gone so far and being honest about it we have done better than I expected.
“Our new aim is to finish in the top 10 this season and I think we are more than capable of doing that.”
On the Aylesbury derby postponement, Joyce added: “It is a no-win situation for us to be honest, because we want to do well in cup competitions, but at the same time the league is our bread and butter.
“Unfortunately, due to the bad weather we always seem to get this at this time of year, teams still involved in cups always end up disadvantaged because they are hit hardest and face the worst backlogs of fixtures.
“Both myself and Steve Bateman (FC manager) are frustrated that the derby is likely to be played in midweek, its pushed back again and it will assume less importance, and just become another fixture to catch up on.
“As there are so many cup competitions to fit in, there is no easy answer.
“Cup games always take priority so I think we just have to accept that we will get behind in the league if we do well in cups.”