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O'Neill: Difficult to Plan for Pre-Season
Wednesday, 17th Jun 2020 12:22

Blues general manager of football operations Lee O’Neill says it’s very hard to plan for pre-season ahead of the 2020/21 campaign with its start date still up in the air and believes sides could end up having to play two games every week in order to get through their fixtures.

A September beginning has been mooted, either behind closed doors or in front of a limited number of fans, however, a number of clubs are understood to want to wait until supporters are able to attend games en masse, which is likely to be in the new year.

The 2019/20 League One season was suspended on March 13th and then finally brought to an early end last week but with no official comment so far on when the new season might get under way.

“We are completely in the unknown at the moment so it’s very difficult to plan for any pre-season schedule,” O’Neill told the club site.

“We have looked at different scenarios but one thing is clear, this pre-season will be totally different for the players and the staff.

“It will be the longest ever the players will have been away, when you think the last game was March 7th.

“You will be talking six months before a competitive game if we start in September so the longer we have them back and get them conditioned for a season of football, the better.

“The Euros [European Championships] are due to start in June and I would expect that to provide a deadline the Premier League will have to work to. I don’t know whether we will have to follow that schedule or not.

“If we don’t start until September or October, you are looking at playing two games a week every week, especially when you feed in cup matches.”

Town had already booked a pre-season trip to Germany in July but that now won’t take place with pre-season games likely to be behind-closed-doors friendlies at training grounds.

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ITFCsince73 added 13:34 - Jun 17
October more likely.

Chrisd added 13:35 - Jun 17
Naturally, the financial side of the game is going to dictate and the continued impact of the virus, especially as clubs in L1/2 can't afford regular testing. Therefore, why not start the season when things have really settled down, perhaps November onwards? If it means that sides only play each other once next season then so be it.

Suffolkboy added 13:40 - Jun 17
ONE day soon ( and the sooner the better ) our political leaders will at last realise that courage , leadership , judgement and decision making fall to them : they cannot forever ‘hide ‘ behind the ‘science ‘ which has been selectively manoeuvred and used as their ‘shield ‘ .
The country deserves much better than they are delivering, and Football ought already to be a much freeer activity zone !
Certainty ,assurance and confidence needs to be restored , and it may be circumstances , economic pressure and public reaction will force a change of course .
O’ neill ,in a restrained fashion , well articulates the challenges facing football, ITFC and most of us are facing .

Wallingford_Boy added 13:55 - Jun 17
Fans are now back "en masse" in NZ for sport, so imagine we'll only be a few months behind. I expect to be watching town as normal by October.

ITFCsince73 added 14:04 - Jun 17
I would imagine 4 or 5 games at home ,per month. Won’t be viable for a lot of season ticket holders, or pay as you go.

PositivelyPortman added 14:12 - Jun 17
Wallingford - NZ have only had 22 deaths from Covid. Compare that figure to the deaths in this country. They have a leader that actually got a handle on the problem instantly. Unlike our goon PM that was on breakfast TV telling everybody to take it on the chin, and bragging about shaking hands with Coronavirus patients.
That is why NZ are able to be so far ahead of us in terms of returning sports fixtures - and just as importantly, the crowds.

chorltonskylineblue added 14:18 - Jun 17
If it's a compacted season, as seems likely, then ditching the EFL Trophy for a season seems like a sensible idea. I don't know how much clubs in Leagues 1 & 2 value it, but with low gates for most games and glory really only for the winner, it's an obvious candidate to go.

Michael101 added 15:58 - Jun 17
Ipswich town planning ahead ,that a new one.wonder if it will make a difference.

Radlett_blue added 16:36 - Jun 17
Hey, Town will find their usual solution by trying to exit the Cup competitions as early as possible.

SamWhiteUK added 17:10 - Jun 17
PositivelyPortman, now compare NZ's population with ours, and then compare the population denisty while you're at it.

No trying to defend our strategy, but there's more to it

FramlinghamBlue added 19:25 - Jun 17
This man is part of the problem. ‘We’ve looked at a number of scenarios’

How about ‘we’ve planned for a variety of the most likely situations that we think are possible.’ Paul and I have worked day and I’m night to compile these plans and we are extremely confident that no matter the outcome we will be ready for the start of the season.

Lee O’Neill omits unfortunately a shrug your shoulders and it will be ok tomorrow type of person.

aloanagain added 19:44 - Jun 17
Two games a week. Might need to bring squad rotation in. Could have done with some league rotation. Support the team.

ArnieM added 20:50 - Jun 17
No problem for Lambo, he’ll just ROTATE every game 👍

KiwiBlue2 added 01:25 - Jun 18
While we had two games of the new Super Rugby Aotearoa competition (just the five NZ teams from Super 17) with full crowds last weekend we are not completely out of the woods as demonstrated by 2 new cases of COVID-19 a couple of days ago after 24 days of no cases.
The cases arose from NZers returning from the UK following a family bereavement here and not being properly quarantined. We are waiting to see if they have transmitted it. While things here feel normal any failures in the quarantining process of people coming in could easily get the virus up and away again.

BettyBlue added 05:37 - Jun 18
God, the employees of Marcus Evans talk a load of old guff.
O'Neil and Lambert, what a pair of wind bags.

Instead of hours of hot air, sack them both.

Bert added 15:11 - Jun 18
Abandon all cup games, start the season in early October and finish mid May. Concentrate on what matters most. Job done.

istanblue added 20:18 - Jun 18
Must be even harder to plan for when you have an incompetent manager in place and an utterly clueless owner running the club.

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