Bournemouth boss Jonathan Woodgate has hit out at the “absolutely ridiculous” Easter schedule following the international break.
The Cherries host Southampton on Saturday in the FA Cup quarter-finals, after which several of the first-team squad will be heading off with their countries.
The next set of Sky Bet Championship fixtures have been slated for Good Friday, April 2 – which leaves little turnaround for those players involved in the midweek international games.
With Easter Monday also seeing a full programme in the EFL, Woodgate is perplexed by a hectic schedule which could very much change the landscape in the battle for the top six.
“Our upcoming (Championship) game after that (international break) is on a Friday, which I cannot understand how the league have done it really,” Woodgate said.
“We have got players away on international duty playing on a Wednesday night and to go again on a Friday is absolutely ridiculous. I can’t get my head around it.
“We will have Philip Billing away, Shane Long away, Lloyd Kelly away – it is just crazy that these players might have to play on a Wednesday and then play on a Friday, then play on a Monday.
“It is just stupidity really whoever makes the decisions like that.”
Bournemouth have several selection problems ahead of Saturday’s 12.15pm kick-off at the Vitality Stadium, with winger Junior Stanislas’ hamstring injury adding him to a packed treatment room.
Midfielder Jefferson Lerma is suspended after collecting two yellow cards earlier in the competition and on-loan Saints forward Long is cup-tied.
Southampton come into the tie on the back of a terrible run of form which has seen them lose 10 of the last 12 Premier League games.
Woodgate, though, will not read too much into those statistics.
“That is all on paper, it is totally different when they are out there on the pitch,” the Bournemouth boss said.
“Southampton are a good team full of internationals, we are the underdogs, but we will go into it thinking we can win the game.”