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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.

“If the lads are in really good condition, very quickly then we can look at moving on to phase two which is contact training. That is likely to be in early August and as it stands at the moment, testing will be needed for that. That could change though.

“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.

Photo: TWTD

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ArnieM added 09:36 - Jul 22
COYBs - just saying .....

Skip73 added 09:46 - Jul 22
So, Joe Robinson has been banned for 10 months for betting on football matches while he was playing for a club in the SKYBET Championship. The hypocrisy of football makes me sick. I've turned my back on the Premier League, the EFL is no better, its maybe time to start following local football.

bluelodgeblue added 10:11 - Jul 22
Right lads first day back after last season’s utter disgrace we’ll go back to basics anybody know what this round thing is called and what you’re supposed to do with it?

MattinLondon added 10:14 - Jul 22
The EFL probably has contracts with alcohol companies - doesn’t mean that players can turn-up p***ed. Players can’t bet on football matches and if they are caught then they deserve to be punished.

Wallingford_Boy added 10:34 - Jul 22
I assume thats an old pic then as they don't seem to be in groups of 5 there!

ArnieM added 10:45 - Jul 22
Lol I nearly posted exactly those thoughts WB

ChrisFelix added 11:33 - Jul 22
Captain calamity practicing social distancing some thing he is good at !!!

jabberjackson added 12:32 - Jul 22
Hasn't everyone had enough of the 'hilarious' social distancing jokes aimed at Chamber et al yet.
Can we come up with something new please
Very boring...
(sorry ChrisFelix, nothing personal, you were the straw that broke the camel's back)

dominiciawful added 12:48 - Jul 22
Lambert out.

Northstandveteran added 13:04 - Jul 22
Is he?!

I thought he was married?

Still, so was Elton John I suppose...

dirtydingusmagee added 14:52 - Jul 22
Skip ive voted up because i agree re local football, i'll keep track of Town as ive supported them since mid 60s travelling thousands of miles in the time,but i'll not be going to matches in the future ,ive seen the best era's got some great memories but after last few years ive watched the club go into decline and i cannot now see any hope of recovery, i will be supporting local teams in future and saving my money for better things . Some will always claim Evans saved the club , i think he may have delayed its death ,but for how long ?

ONENIL78 added 15:36 - Jul 22
"no start date for 2019/20 season??

iaintaylorx added 16:46 - Jul 22
Just saying, this is an old photo so can people calm down? Josh Emmanuel is in the photo, as is Danny Rowe 👀

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