Jody Brown admits that his Heybridge Swifts players are ‘mentally drained’
Heybridge Swifts manager, Jody Brown, admits that this players are “mentally drained” following their latest defeat, a 1-0 loss away at Tilbury on Tuesday evening.
The Swifts have been the victims of their own success this season, with terrific long runs in both the FA Cup and FA Trophy leading to the current huge backlog of fixtures in Bostik North.
Their FA Cup run eventually ended in the first round proper, away at League Two hosts Exeter, while their FA Cup adventure stalled with a 2-1 loss at National League club Maidstone.
Their lack of league activity means that they have as many as 10, 11 or even 12 games in hand over many of their rivals, but a current run of just one league win in nine, since early December, has left them wallowing in the lower half of the table after such a terrific start to the campaign.
“A little bit of belief has gone, and tiredness has set in,” admitted Brown. “So it might be a case of a little bit of luck or a bit of brilliance to turn it around. If we can nick a result then I am sure we can build on that.
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“A lot of the players are feeling sorry for themselves at the moment, because our expectations went through the roof earlier in the season, and that automatically puts pressure on players.
“I think my players are mentally drained.
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“We haven’t had a midweek off during the entire season. Premier League players, who are elite athletes and are mentally very strong, can’t cope with that.
“But I don’t want this to be an excuse, because we have dipped off massively.
“It started when the squad became inconsistent. Injuries and suspensions affected us and we haven’t got a settled XI at the moment.
“By contrast, throughout our very good runs we probably had 10 or 11 always there and always playing. We had consistency and continuity, and we have lost that.
“I hope we can pick it up again. We still have 27 games left, but it’s hard. There’s a lot of mental strain, because earlier in the season we were beating all-comers,” added Brown.
A sixth minute own goal by debutant defender, Thomas Cooney, inflicted defeat on the Swifts at Tilbury.
“We huffed and puffed, but I don’t think we played particularly well,” confirmed Brown.