07:00PM, Thursday 14 January 2021
With the recent spike in infections and widespread postponements of matches across the National League, Magpies boss Alan Devonshire says he can see a scenario where the season is brought to an early end once again and places are decided on a points-per-game (PPG) calculation.
Last season the Magpies were spared relegation on a favourable PPG calculation, with Ebbsfleet United demoted to National League South despite being above Devonshire’s men in the table.
And with many clubs reporting positive COVID-19 cases and the subsequent postponement of a swathe of matches – including Maidenhead’s recent trips to Barnet and Wealdstone – Devonshire believes clubs may struggle to squeeze in all their fixtures before the end of the season.
Calls have also been made for the National League to consider suspending the season to come up with some solutions for better protecting players and their families from the threat of COVID-19.
“Without a doubt they’ll have a problem (finishing the season),” said Devonshire. “I can see us getting half-way through the season and it’s decided on points-per-game again.
“I just don’t know how they’re going to finish it when, no disrespect, games are being called off on such a regular basis.
“I’m looking at my computer now, and of the seven games that have been fixed up for midweek, and only two are being played, Dover against Boreham Wood and Halifax against Hartlepool still on.
“From February and into March it’s just going to be fully booked, we’re going to be playing Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday, Tuesday.”
Despite their lack of recent matches, Maidenhead remain just outside of the play-offs in eighth position and go into the Yeovil game this Saturday off the back of an encouraging 4-0 win over Wealdstone on Boxing Day. They have since played a friendly match against Brentford’s B team, with the Bees fielding several players who would go on to make the squad for their League Cup semi-final with Tottenham Hotspur. The league is also very congested this season, with only a handful of points separating the play-off contenders with the relegation threatened. A win for 19th placed Yeovil on Saturday would take them to within three points of Maidenhead.
“This is supposed to be the busy time,” he added. “One of the boys has gone down with tonsilitis and he’ll probably be struggling for Saturday but apart from that I should have a couple of boys back.
“Brentford played four of the boys who were then on the bench for the League Cup semi-final against Tottenham. It was a good test for us, and we did better in the second half. It was a good workout for some of the boys who haven’t played much.
“Yeovil have signed a few players recently and have turned it around. I think they’ve won four out of five. They’re a big club, but we’re looking forward to it, we just want to get back playing.”