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Weather has stifled us says Christchurch boss Cuffie
BOSS Michael Cuffie reckons it will be like pre-season all over again when Christchurch finally return to action.
Priory have been hit hardest by the relentless bad weather which has wiped out chunks of the non-league programme since Christmas.
The Hurn Bridge outfit have not tasted competitive action since suffering a 3-0 defeat at Winchester City in the Wessex League Premier Division more than eight weeks ago on Saturday, December 14.
Since then, the club has seen some 13 home or away fixtures fall victim to sodden pitches and even the decision to switch their Russell-Cotes Cup quarter-final to opponents Gosport Borough's ground proved fruitless.
And with the rain set to stick around over the next few weeks, the situation could yet worsen for Christchurch, much to their manager's frustration.
“I have known anything like it,” said Cuffie. “It is new to me and new to the club.
“It is such a shame because we had changed the system and one or two of the new signings had started to fit in quite well.
“There was a nice atmosphere building in the dressing room and so this has stifled us a little bit. I just hope we can keep that going because we were making real progress.
“Everyone is just itching to get back out there. The one bonus is that all of our players are physically fit with no injury concerns, but match fitness and sharpness might take some time.
“The first game back will be like pre-season all over again because eight weeks is as long as, if not longer than, the summer break.
“When we do play it will be a matter of battling through it and just trying to outscore the opposition.”
Cuffie revealed that despite the weather, he had managed to put on training sessions for the squad on a regular basis.
He continued: “I have guys from as far away as Southampton who have been pulling out all the stops to make training.
“Everyone is conscious of the fact they aren't playing and all you can do is ask the players to keep themselves as fit as they can.
“Our hands have been tied. We have trained on most of the Saturdays but it has been difficult to find somewhere not waterlogged at the last minute.
“There are only so many places to go and so much you can do with the players. There is a massive difference between playing and training so it will be a tough test for the lads when we finally get a game on.”
Priory's next scheduled fixture is a rearranged league match at home to Fawley on Wednesday.