Christmas break for players is good idea – Barmby

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HULL CITY caretaker manager Nick Barmby believes footballers would benefit from taking a week’s break at Christmas.

The Tigers are in action today at Middlesbrough as Yorkshire’s two highest-placed clubs go head-to-head at the Riverside Stadium.

A bumper crowd is expected for the meeting of the teams sitting third and fourth in the Championship but Barmby, in his 20th season in the professional game, still feels a mini-break would be welcomed by players and managers alike.

He said: “Years ago, we had a lot more games than we are having this year. I remember playing Boxing Day and the 27th, which was a massive demand. This year is not that bad.

“But I still don’t see a problem in having a week off at Christmas. I think if you asked any manager or player, they would say the same thing.

“It isn’t a winter break, as a ‘break’ makes it sound like a long time. But I don’t see a problem in not playing for one week.

“I know people want to make money and I understand that. But it wouldn’t bother me having a week off and I am sure the players would agree.”

Barmby is enjoying his first Christmas as a manager, the former England international having taken charge of the Tigers following Nigel Pearson’s departure at the start of last month.

It means he has been able to tailor training to what he feels is best, meaning the squad were given yesterday off on the understanding they did not go overboard with the Christmas celebrations.

Barmby added: “I didn’t think it was worth getting them in Christmas Day. As a player, I always felt you didn’t get a lot out of people. That is not questioning anyone’s professionalism as they were all dedicated players. It is the same here. But I don’t think it is worth getting them in. There is an element of trust as I trust my players to do what is right.”

Elsewhere in the Championship, sixth-placed Leeds United travel to Derby County looking to banish the memory of their abject 1-0 defeat to Reading a week last Saturday.

Barnsley host Blackpool, while relegation-threatened Doncaster Rovers make the short trip to Burnley.

In League One, Sheffield Wednesday travel to Walsall as Huddersfield Town host Chesterfield.

Sheffield United do not play until tomorrow, at home to Notts County.