Whaley’s relief at return to training ground after March Town United’s run ended

DONNING his tracksuit came as a relief for tactician Brett Whaley this week after March Town United’s five-game winning run ended on Monday.

The Hares boss was delighted to get his players together in Peterborough on Wednesday for just their second training session in six weeks.

And he revealed his lack of winter coaching opportunities had been his “sole disappointment” since returning to the GER hotseat last summer.

Whaley said: “I enjoy training as much as I do getting the lads together on a Saturday.

“To be able to coach in the week and then see that work during a game is what I love doing. I haven’t been able to work on anything and I’ve been desperate to get them in.

“The GER pitch can’t take too much and players have been unavailable so it’s been frustrating. But I can’t expect them to miss work because we’re operating on a small budget.

“It’s been my sole disappointment and it’s affecting us because we look rusty. Training is one of the most important parts of running a football team at this level.

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“The squad is coming together but I haven’t been able to improve the players individually and it’s hurting us.

“I love the thinking side of the game so we had a chat, put Monday to bed, and then worked on putting it right.

“We trained before the Thetford game which gave me chance to formulate plans and you could see that it worked - hopefully we will see an improvement on Saturday.”

Ondre Odain’s fifth goal in as many games as a March player and a stunning Gavin Cooke free kick wasn’t enough to stop the Hares losing 3-2 at Fakenham Town.

Whaley’s side, who dropped from second to fourth in the Ridgeons First Division as a result of the defeat, host sixth-placed Halstead at the GER tomorrow. (3pm kick-off)

Dan Jenkins and Craig Norman return to the squad but Adam Sutton (hamstring) and Luke Pepper (dead leg) are 50/50. Midfielder Giuliano Staffieri has left the club.

Whaley said: “We didn’t play well at Fakenham, made individual errors and looked off the pace - but we were always going to have a bad game at some point.

“I can’t complain about the effort or the desire to win but maybe it was a bit of a reality check and the defeat hurt the lads. We missed Dan Jenkins’ grit. He’s an unsung hero for us and the game highlighted how important he is to us.

“There’s no need for drastic measures and I’m looking forward to seeing the players’ reactions and finding out who our big characters are.

“Our run has ended but we need to start the next one and react to the defeat. Finishing top-five would be a massive achievement and anything after that is a bonus.”