Sussex County Football League
Published 17th February 2012
....Sussex County League outfit have not trained together since pre-season.
Lingfield had a great run in the FA Cup earlier in the season before losing out to Ryman League Premier Division side Horsham, and are a force to be reckoned with in the Sussex County League, sitting eighth in Division One.
But with Lingfield village only having a small population, Dean admits he is forced to source players from elsewhere, and with only a small budget for the players' travel expenses, the manager insists it isn't feasible to get his squad to train.
"We don't train. I got them all fit in pre-season and then I trust them to stay fit," Dean explained. "If anyone turns up looking sluggish then they don't play but everyone keeps themselves fit on the whole.
"Players only get a tiny bit of money for their Saturday train fare to Lingfield so if they had to come for training as well they would be out of pocket.
"Places like East Grinstead have a population of 50,000 whereas Lingfield has about 1,200! If we had all local lads we would not be playing this standard of football.
"I'd love to be able to train with my whole squad each week, but I have two coming from east London, two from Wimbledon, a load from Crawley; it isn't practical."
But while the Lingfield team are kept busy in their local gym, Dean admits he struggles to practice set-pieces and styles of play without regular training sessions.
"It would definitely help if we could have training sessions," Dean said. "If I could get twelve or fourteen players in, I don't doubt we would be two or three places higher up in the table if we could practice our set-pieces.
"Sometimes if the reserves don't have a game and we don't have a game I get four or five of the more local players in with the reserves to train.
"It is just the set-pieces though. We have a very fit squad. Even Gareth Graham keeps himself quite fit and he is 36. And Daryl Coleman had a month out with suspension and then postponements, but when he came back he was fit and strong."
On Saturday Lingfield host Arundel at Godstone Road and Dean is confident the match will go ahead.
"The snow has melted and with a bit of sun and a bit of wind the pitch should dry out," he said. "We are still aiming for a top five finish this season, then hopefully I will get a bit of a budget and we can push on next season."