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26 March 2020

“There is only one thing that is in control at the moment and that’s the virus"

Town physio Matt Byard says players should not be returning to training until the Covid-19 outbreak is seen to be well under control.

No football will take place until April 30 at the earliest following a directive from the game’s authorities recently, with the EFL stating that players should not return to training until the start of April.

Both dates now look certain to be put back following the Government’s call to put the country into ‘lockdown’ for three weeks and asking the elderly and those with health issues to stay isolated for up to three months.   

But rather than set a date for an earliest return to games, Matt says football should wait until the Government are confident the coronavirus is on the wane before setting any timescale.

“There is only one thing that is in control at the moment and that’s the virus,” he told the Club website.

“I don’t think we can start talking about dates for a return to football until the Government says things are levelling out and they are getting on top of it.

“We have got the 12 week social isolation in place for those most at risk, we are all in lockdown for three weeks and the social distancing rules are likely to go on long after that.

“We don’t know how long this is going to last for. My personal view is that football waits until it’s deemed safe for players to return to training and that can only be when restrictions that we have in place are lifted and the virus is under control.

“Only then can we start to look at a timeline for games to resume and obviously the longer the players are off training, the longer you need to get them back to a good physical condition to play games and reduce the risk of injury.

“I hear talk of trying to finish the season in the space of three weeks or so when players will be asked to play three or four times a week. Physically that would be one of the biggest challenges I would have heard of given the circumstances they would be approaching that schedule.”

Playing games behind closed doors has been mooted as a possibility if the coronavirus continues over a lengthy period but Matt is against that idea.

“Tristan Nydam suffered his injury [broken ankle] in a pre-season friendly. That was near enough a game played behind closed doors but he still needed urgent medical attention from the NHS, and subsequent surgery. I don't see how we can make any extra demand on the Health Service presently,” he explained.

“Until the Government deem it suitable and pressure on the health service is relieved, I can’t see why we should be putting dates on the season starting or players training.”    

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