Bernard banking on youth
Harbour View Football Club coach Ludlow Bernard says the club will be sticking with their original pre-season plan of playing young players in the upcoming and adjusted Jamaica Premier League (JPL) season.
However, he insists that having a youthful team should not provide an excuse for young players not to deliver. He says that he and his coaching staff will be working hard with the group to ensure they are capable of pushing for the title.
For the 2020/2021 season, which was anticipated to start last October, Harbour View had declared that it intended on continuing its youth policy and registered 20 Under-20 players to their premier-league roster, and Bernard says the focus hasn't changed.
"We have had a very youthful contingent from the beginning but youth is not an excuse for them not to perform.
"My aim is for them to maximise their performance and put them in a position where they can contend and develop an attitude to compete for titles.
"So once we are in it, we are in it to excel and to win the competition irrespective of the format, irrespective of the circumstances," he said.
Maintain a good position
He reasons that to be in contention for the title, they will have to hit their stride from the opening whistle and maintain a good position in the standings.
However, he believes all the coaches will have to work vary hard to get their teams prepared in four weeks.
"The ambition is to compete and to win so we know from the get-go that we have to hit the ground running," Bernard said.
Bernard's only concern going into the shortened season is the limited time to get the players in the shape required to perform at their optimum.
The club received clearance on their venue to start training last week, and Bernard reveals that players are already feeling the effects of the heavy workload being applied by the coaching staff.
"The demands can have a psychological effect because being away from the sport and then being thrust right back into it. It is not easy to make that transition physically. I know mentally they want to play, they love the sport but our physical preparation is extremely intense. We just hope they can get over that transition because after the first few days the players were feeling kind of weary," he noted.
"So we have to be very cautious how we push them because the grace period is very short. We are playing in a three-month competition and whenever we are playing the schoolboy competition, which also lasts three months, we usually have two to three months preparation.
"It is going to be difficult but I believe it is a level playing field. We will have to give it our best shot," Bernard said.