DAVE Langston is experiencing a nightmare before - and after - Christmas as Rocester's backlog of fixtures mounts up amid major disruptions to their FA Vase preparations.
The Romans take on Runcorn Town in the fourth round of the Vase on January 19. But successive postponements mean Langston's side have not played since the 3-2 loss against Studley on December 15. Tomorrow's home clash against Loughborough University is also a "serious doubt" while the Romans boss is increasingly concerned that leading goal-scorer Edwin Ahenkorah has yet to serve the remaining two games of his suspension.
"It's very frustrating," admitted Langston. "We want to get games in, get the motivation going and get a run of wins going. At the end of the day to only have played 15 games (in the Midland Alliance) is ridiculous.
"The Loughborough game is already a doubt. More rain is forecast for Friday (today). You certainly could not play on our pitch at the moment."
Rocester do have another four games scheduled before they bid to reach the last 32 of the FA Vase. The Hillsfield side have trips to Continental Star, Coventry Sphinx and Gornal Athletic lined up as well as a home game against Heather St John's over the next two weeks. But Langston says Rocester's preparations have already suffered.
"It doesn't help when you see that Runcorn are playing their games," he added. "Edwin still has those two games as well. Things are creeping up on me again like last year."
The mounting fixture backlog has forced the Romans boss into a frantic search for reinforcements. And further cup success could exacerbate the problem with potentially a League Cup semi-final and an FA Vase fifth round tie to squeeze in.
Langston said: "We are now so far behind it's going to kill us. The lads can't fit all those games in. Professionals could not do it. The quarter-final of the League Cup is over two legs. Hopefully we'll get beyond Runcorn Town and get another Vase game.
"I am trying to bring some players in. Wayne Johnson has a few in mind down Cheadle way. But we are trying to bring players in who have also not played in the Vase."
The Romans are also yet to purge the memory of the 3-2 loss against lowly Studley last time out. Langston labelled that defeat, and particularly the first half display, as "embarrassing". Even organising training has been problematic for the Romans.
Langston said: "Obviously we can't get on our pitch. The Astro turf training pitch is not open due to JCB being closed down for Christmas. It's hard work just trying to find a pitch."