It’s time to rethink start of season
HEMAY come across as a cheeky chappie, but QPR boss Ian Holloway is also a deep thinker about his football. And when he raises concerns about early season fixture congestion (see story right), he’s worth listening to.
He believes players are at risk of injury in the opening weeks of the season because of the hectic Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday schedule, exacerbated by Carabao Cup matches.
It was a major factor in why he made nine changes from his starting line-up for last Tuesday’s first round tie against Northampton Town. Other managers also made wholesale changes to protect their players.
It may leave supporters feeling short-changed when they go to see a match and find they are watching what is effectively a reserve side.
Holloway’s suggestion that the League Cup first round should be played a week before the first league game of the season has its merits.
Instead of a friendly, a club could play a competitive game. And fans could also benefit as a manager would be more likely to put out a stronger team as a dress rehearsal for their league opener a week later.
AFC Wimbledon manager Neal Ardley also raised concerns over there being extra-time in matches in the opening week of the season. Again, it’s a valid point. But, as Holloway says, is there anyone listening?