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Nairn County manager Sharp wants quick and clear resolution to Highland League campaign


By Alasdair Fraser


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Ronnie Sharp is pleading with the Highland League’s management to bring clarity by making a rapid call on whether the north season can be completed.

The Nairn County manager stressed there was no real appetite among his playing squad for a resumption of a 2020/21 campaign that barely got off the ground before lockdown returned in the New Year.

Even in truncated form, with every team playing each other just once, the Wee County would have to fulfil 13 league fixtures before the summer having played just twice previously.

With Covid-19 testing costs prohibitive for all or most clubs, the Scottish Government’s proposed lifting of the testing requirement on May 17 would present the most probable restart date.

Ronnie Sharp (left) is calling for a decision on the 20/21 season. Picture: James MacKenzie
Ronnie Sharp (left) is calling for a decision on the 20/21 season. Picture: James MacKenzie

That would, though, necessitate a flurry of as many as four matches per week to complete the season within a reasonable timescale to allow SPFL play-offs to be staged.

If clubs were to agree to one or several weeks of testing prior to that, the schedule might be marginally more palatable.

“I can’t see there being any hope of more football,” Sharp said. “From what I’m hearing among our boys, I don’t think there’s a major appetite for it. We would have to cram the season into an incredibly short space of time.

“On May 17, we will be allowed contact sport again but I just can’t envisage it starting up then. I’d rather they looked at starting next season a month earlier, perhaps in July and get going then. That would give us the summer to prepare, rather than have us back in the middle of May.

“Our boys have already said they are not keen to be travelling about on Wednesdays and Saturdays, trying to cram in, what – 13 games?

“I think the easiest thing to do would be just to call it now and let everybody know, one way or the other.”

Sharp feels players views must be taken account of.

“There’s just not an appetite to be travelling about, especially when everyone within the squad is still waiting to be vaccinated,” he said. “It’s never great at the best of times, cramming in matches around working life, but certainly not in a pandemic.”


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