Paul Johnson is preparing for his first Christmas off for more than 20 years – but don’t expect him to be eating turkey sandwiches in front of the television.
The Combined Counties, though, prefer to have a winter break – so after this weekend, no matches are planned until January 7.
“It’s a long break and we tried to rearrange our fixtures to get a game over Christmas but we couldn’t find anyone willing to play, which is a shame,” he said.
“It’s the first time in 20-odd years I’ll have a Christmas off, which will seem a bit strange.
“It will give us the opportunity to go out and watch players in games from the leagues above us with a view to next season, as we don’t normally get time to do that, especially on a Saturday.
“It will give us a chance to see what’s about, whether that’s for now or with an eye on next season.
“The pressure will be on us for next season as the club have made no secret they want to be looking for promotion, but I’ll enjoy that pressure – no-one can get complacent when you have people breathing down your neck all the time asking why you’re not winning matches.”
With the cold snap continuing, Johnson isn’t too confident of Saturday’s match at Horley going ahead. But he will travel in confident mood.
“We are getting stronger week by week and the mentality is looking good – we’re not always looking to play great football, we’re just looking to win matches,” he said.
“We have won three games out of four since we arrived – it’s been busy and it will be nice when we have a settled side and work with the same 16 or so week in and week out.
“Our target remains the same as it was when we arrived – we want to get as close to the top two in the table as we can and we’ll see where that gets us.
“All we can do is try to keep on winning.”
Badshot Lea co-manager Gavin Smith is another who is disappointed with the lack of match action.
Like Farnham, their match last weekend was a victim of the weather and he’s not too sure whether Saturday’s game at Tadley Calleva will escape the big freeze.
“It’s disappointing but there’s nothing we can do about it,” he said.
“On the plus side, I’m looking forward to having a jam-packed schedule in the new year and playing each Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday and Tuesday – I used to hate going from Saturday to Saturday as a player without a midweek game.
“Training is okay but we’re in it to play games and I’m sure the players would rather we were doing that.
“After this weekend we don’t have a game until January 7. If the Tadley game does not will go ahead we will have 24 games in 18 weeks – we have cup games to fit in too – so it’ll be a good test of the squad.
“I’d rather have had matches scheduled over the Christmas holiday – if we don’t play Saturday we’ll have something like four or five weeks off without a game.
“We have so many games to catch up on – we have to play four more before we even get to halfway in the season. It’s a bit frustrating to see teams play matches and go above us in the table when we have so many games in hand – nobody likes playing catch-up.
“The only good news is it will give some of our players time to get fit. Tane Caubo has been struggling with a hamstring pull and the break should help that clear up, and Jake Hawker had good news that he thought he’s done his ACL but it’s a calf and hamstring problem that should keep him out between three and eight weeks, and he’s already been out for three, so he should be back soon,
“Andrew Matthews is back after being away with the Army and we have signed goalkeeper Luke Roberts from Camberley. We had a look at him and were impressed and he has now signed – he’s young, lives locally and wants to pay for us for all the right reasons.”