Players Return to Training
Wednesday, 22nd Jul 2020 09:27
The Town first-team squad return to Playford Road for pre-season training today for the first time since 2019/20 was suspended on March 13th.
The squad will be arriving in groups at allocated times across the day and will be working to stage one of the EFL’s Protocol for Return to First Team Training which will see players training in groups of up to five while keeping to social distancing guidelines.
Players will arrive at Playford Road already changed into their kit to train outdoors only with no use of dressing room, gym or canteen facilities permitted.
There will be a screening protocol prior to players and staff members arriving at the training ground. No media are allowed to access the training ground.
However, in a change to the protocols, players aren’t now required to undergo regular Covid-19 tests if social distancing and other stage one guidelines are maintained.
“The players are back today and we are able to do stage one training now without the testing procedure as long as strong protocols are in place,” Town’s general manager football operations Lee O’Neill told the club site.
“We need to see where the lads are with their fitness levels because they have not trained since March.
“That’s what the next five days will be about. Are they deconditioned? Have they lost muscle mass? Is their range of movement down?
“They may come back in better condition with the break then when they left off, we don’t know so that’s what we need to look at and then we can plan from there.
“It will be a different pre-season than usual and it’s a long one as well, up to eight weeks. We are going to have to mix it up.”
As yet there is no date set for the start of the 2019/20 season with the EFL having put the decision back to this Friday.
As things stand, Saturday 29th August and Saturday 12th September are the two dates under discussion with O’Neill expecting the latter to be confirmed.
“Two dates have been mentioned and while nothing has been confirmed, we are working towards the September start,” he added.
Currently there is no date scheduled for the development squad or academy scholars to return to Playford Road.
Meanwhile, administration-hit Wigan Athletic have accepted a £2 million offer from QPR for ex-Blues striker Kieffer Moore. It's anticipated other clubs, including Cardiff City who made a bid in January, could also make approaches for the 27-year-old Wales international.
Former Blues defender John McGreal, 48, is understood to be keen on the management vacancy at Southend United having been sacked by Colchester United.
Elsewhere, ex-Blues academy youngster Joe Robinson has been handed a 10-month ban for breaching FA betting rules.
At a personal hearing last week, it was heard that the 23-year-old, who is now with Newmarket Town, placed bets on football matches stretching back to 2016 when he was with the Blues.
Centre-half Robinson made one senior appearance for Town as a late sub in the 2-1 FA Cup replay defeat at Portsmouth in January 2016.
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