Taylor: No Chance Boss Will Miss Swindon Game
Friday, 8th Jan 2021 11:23
Blues assistant manager Stuart Taylor says manager Paul Lambert will be at Saturday's game against Swindon and general manager of football operations Lee O’Neill and academy head of coaching and player development Bryan Klug are also back involved having been among the 11 players and staff to have tested positive over Christmas. The eight players are all back in training ahead of Saturday’s live Sky game against Swindon.
The 11 positive tests led to the club’s Playford Road training ground being closed and cleaned but Taylor says normality is starting to return.
Asked how everyone is after the unexpected hiatus, Taylor said: “Good, thank you. It’s been a different Christmas. Lads have probably been able to experience a Christmas build-up with their families because we were off, so there was that side.
“From a normality point of view and a family life point of view, it was different and it was enjoyable but certainly from a work point of view it was strange.
“You enjoy the Boxing Day games, you enjoy the build-up to it, you enjoy the New Year’s Day game and we didn’t have that festive period where it was hectic.
“It was definitely the right thing with the cases that we had, we just couldn’t field a team, so certainly the safety aspect and the health aspect for everybody, it’s got to be done and we had to shut the training ground down.”
Asked whether his family appreciated him being around for Christmas, he added: “Definitely, it was a surprise for the kids when I turned up, I don't know if it was a good surprise or a bad surprise right enough, but they had my company for the build-up to Christmas which was brilliant, and Santa was good to them over Christmas, so it put a smile on my face for that side of things.”
Taylor says there’s no doubt manager Lambert will be involved at tomorrow’s game: “Wild horses wouldn’t stop him so I’m not going to go and try. He’s fine, he’s been in from Tuesday, so there’s absolutely no chance he’ll miss the game, so he’ll be fine and up for it.
“Lee’s been in at distance watching training and still doing his work. Obviously we’ve had several Zoom calls and conversations over the phone.
“I think himself and the manager were most severely hit by it. Lee’s starting to get stronger now and he’s been in more over the last couple of days.
“Bryan Klug obviously had his time out isolating and he was not as affected by it as the manager and Lee.
“I think the gaffer found it tough at times but once his isolation was up, there was no holding him back, he was always going to come back into work and be about the club and be about the lads.
“It’s great to have everybody back and it’s great to have a full squad of staff and players.”
Asked how training worked over Christmas, he added: “Over the period we were off everything was shut down, so the lads did their individual stuff.
“Bringing them back in after it, it was little small steps, making sure that we were bedding them back in and not picking up any injuries, which was probably the most important part of it. That was what our focus was really on.
“After a couple of days of having them back, it was just a case of trying to push them as much as we possibly could.
“We didn’t know with the ones who had had Covid how their breathing would be and how that would be affected by the endurance part of training.
“But everybody’s come through it fine thankfully and every training day they’ve got stronger and stronger. We’ve put a little bit more demand on them.
“We tried to build up to the Fleetwood game which was tricky in terms of not doing too much and trying to save as much energy for that game as possible but once we got word of that being off, it just let us open up and prepare for the Swindon game, which has been ideal.
“The training time has been really good and they’re going into this game tomorrow in good shape.
“We’re more match ready that we would have been if we were going into the Fleetwood game, that’s 100 per cent sure. I think personally that would have been far too early to go and put lads in, after all they’d only been back training for less than a week.
“But the demands were put on us that we had to go and play the game and we were doing as we were told, whether we agreed with it or not we had to go and do it.
“But thankfully Fleetwood called it off, not thankfully that they’ve got cases, but thankfully they called it off so it gave us more time to prepare for the Swindon game.
“Going into the Fleetwood game, it was a real tough ask to ask players to go from being ill and 10 days of nothing to then going and having three or four days’ training to then go into a really competitive away game.
“It was to much to ask but we put ourselves forward, we did as we were told, we were told to go and play the fixture and we were doing that but then Fleetwood called it off, which was a blessing in disguise for us.
“We’ve just built them up every day the best we could and the players have been fantastic on the training field, they’ve given everything, they’ve worked as hard as they possibly could, there’s been a good intensity about the training.
“And we’ve seen it every day, they’ve got stronger, the training’s been quicker and every day they’ve been more positive with that.
“Looking forward to going into the game. Obviously training doesn’t match a game, so that’s another level again, so they’ll have some cobwebs they’ll need to blow away for sure, but we’re hoping that all will be fine going into the game tomorrow.”
Asked how he feels about football continuing while the rest of the country is in lockdown, he said: “I think football is its own wee world. You kind of get lost from the real world at times when you're involved in football because you don't really get the real opportunity to celebrate Christmas, New Year and your birthday like everybody else does because your birthday could fall on the day of a game or the day before a game.
“This Christmas we had an opportunity to go and enjoy the build-up to it, but at times you're training on Christmas Day because you've got the game on Boxing Day, so as regards to that, it's not a distraction for us at this moment in time.
“Obviously, we're concerned about what's going on in the world and that side of things and obviously trying to keep your family and yourself safe and everybody you're around. But for everybody not working and we're working its normal life for us, it's nothing that comes into our minds at all.”
“So again, you kind of get lost up on what's actually going on in the real world around about you. When you go back out on the training ground you've done your work, you've done your training, you've done everything that you've got.
“It's then going back to your family life. We're like everybody else. You look after your family and you make sure everything is getting done right there as well.
“But it is certainly is worrying times, but it's worrying times for everybody, we've just got to make sure that we're doing everything that's right for us and our families and hoping that everybody else in the world is doing exactly the same because if everybody does that then everybody is going to be fine.”
Does he believe it's important for football to continue during the lockdown? “I get that it's a distraction for some people to keep their spirits up, I totally get that. And if that's our job and I guess it's an entertainment business, then that's what we'll do.
“And that's our jobs, and we're very kind of strong-minded in that sense that we've got a job to do and we'll do it to the best that we possibly can.
“And we always realise that we have an influence over people’s weekends, you know supporters can go back to families being grumpy if your team doesn't win or they can go back delighted if the team does win or even if it's just a good performance.
“And I guess this is a similar situation but obviously in a bigger picture where there's not much else going on. Golf's been cancelled, tennis has been cancelled, what else did I see in the background with rugby and all that? But we're there to keep spirits up for some people and hopefully, we can do that.”
Regarding the potential for the season not to be extended or perhaps curtailed like the last campaign, he added: “Who knows? I think if anybody turns around and says this is going to happen or that's going to happen then they are just giving their opinion on it, there's no facts.
“We don’t know if they are going to extend the league, there's a couple of spare Tuesdays in April that they could go and throw it in there.
“I've absolutely no idea. Could they go three games in a week? I don't think so, but it depends what they see the importance of when the end of the season should.
“There is another option where they could stop the season as they did last year and go points per game.
“I have no idea, and it's just a case of we take every day as it comes and plan for the next game and however long that goes on for.
“If it's to the end of the season then for me that's the right way forward, that's the right process and that's the right mentality to have, so we'll just keep taking every game and every day as it comes.”
Photo: Matchday Images
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