Following the draw for the first round of the 2020/21 Carabao Cup, Grimsby Town boss Ian Holloway has slammed the “absolutely ridiculous” fixture pile up the competition has caused.
The Mariners will have two games to play before the League Two season gets underway on September 12, with Morecambe in the first round of the Carabao Cup on September 5, followed by an EFL Trophy clash the following Tuesday or Wednesday.
“I am totally perplexed by it”
To contend with the later start to the season, two games a week as likely to be a normal occurrence for teams in the EFL and the Town manager voiced his discontent at the prospect.
“I am trying to build a squad. They have just thrown the cup competitions in front of the season starting,” said Holloway, speaking to GrimsbyLive.
“I want to think about our league campaign and make sure we have got a team together of balance, with experience and youth.
“I am not even thinking about cup competitions. They have thrown them in as if they are friendlies.
“My priority is trying to make sure we get a squad that can last 46 games in League Two and make sure we are towards the top of it. That is my priority.
“It’s made everything that we want to do very, very difficult. I am totally perplexed by it. The mind boggles.”
New arrivals will need time to adjust
The accumulation of early-season fixtures has put the pressure on teams like Grimsby, who have made five new signings already, to beef up their squads even further to be able to compete on all fronts.
Forwards Montel Gibson and Alhagi Touray Sisay and Wales international midfielder George Williams joined Bilel Mohsni and Ira Jackson Jr through the door at Blundell Park as Holloway continues to bolster his squad.
Despite this, the Bristolian was adamant he will need “five, six or seven” more players, with three of the new arrivals coming from non-league and needing extra preparation in the fitness department.
Holloway said: “We have our fitness coach trying to get them up to speed which will take a few months.
“You don’t go from training once or twice a week to being able to play in League Two. I understood that, and I am working to bring them up to speed and ease them in slowly.”
In such unique circumstances, all lower league clubs face a scramble for players to bolster their squads in what is going to be a jam-packed football season.