WHEN Jamie Vermiglio closes the gates at his primary school for the festive period he will be looking forward to sitting down in front of the TV - but it won’t be Christmas films he’ll be devouring but footage of the opposition.

And while no doubt there will be plenty of season’s greetings to loved ones over the phone in the coming days, the Chorley boss will spend just as much time chatting to managers and players as he plots ways to strengthen his squad.

“The holidays make a big difference for me,” said Vermiglio who is headteacher of a Warrington primary school. “It means I can focus more on the football, sit down and watch footage of teams we are playing and get on the phone and make plenty of calls.”

When you have those sort of distractions of running a football team, you have to have a very considerate family - and thankfully for Vermiglio that is the case with wife Carla and children Sam, seven, and five-year-old Emily his biggest supporters.

“I’ve been married for 18-19 years so my wife always knew what she was letting herself in for, that said she is very understanding and considerate, especially this time of the year,” said Vermiglio.

“I’ve done all the hitting the shops for the sales in the past, I leave that to her now, but she understands that and realises this is a very busy, hectic time of the year for anyone involved in football.”

While Vermiglio is fully committed to his role as Chorley boss, he says it is a family affair and in son Sam, he has someone to boost his confidence.

“We go to a lot of the games as a family, it is a social thing for them and they enjoy it,” said Vermiglio. “Sam is getting more and more in to it now and he is always there to pick me up after a defeat. Sadly there have been more of them than we would have like this season but he always says ‘don’t worry dad, I am sure it will be alright.’

Vermiglio will be hoping he won’t need too many pep talks off his son over the hectic festive period with the games coming thick and fast in the National League - starting at home to Dover Athletic tomorrow.

The Christmas and New Year programme also includes matches against Harrogate and Woking and a vital ‘double header’ against fellow strugglers Wrexham. Despite Chorley currently bottom of the table, Vermiglio insists this stage of the season is not ‘make or break’ to their chances of staying in the division.

“This time of the year is always important because you play so many games in such a short space of time,” he said. “But it is not make or break as far as I am concerned.

“We are bottom of the table but we are only there on goal difference and just four points from safety so there is an awful lot of football to be played. A lot depends on what other teams do as well.”

Chorley drew 1-1 at Dover back in September and they welcome a side who are struggling at the moment and are without a win since mid-November. But Vermiglio is warning people that they are not simply there for the taking.

“They are low of form at the moment and have lost a similar amount of games to us,” he said. “But they will look at where we are in the table and will think this is the ideal chance to get their season up and running again.”

Vermiglio said he was bitterly disappointed with Chorley’s FA Trophy exit to Matlock Town after losing in a penalty shoot-out on Tuesday night after the game ended 2-2.

But he is hoping to use it as a positive.

“One advantage is that we can now solely focus on the league,” he said. “We were poor on Tuesday and the players know that. But we can use it as an advantage if we can bounce back against Dover.”