LJ PRE NORTHAMPTON



Lee Johnson is looking forward to traveling to Northampton Town after a three-week enforced break following the Covid outbreak at the AOL. He admitted that of the players who tested positive for the virus, only one won’t be selected.


“We don’t have anyone who cannot be selected because of Covid,” said Johnson. “Everybody has done their time. We have a couple of players that you wouldn’t say were at their absolute peak, they’re not 100 per cent, but at the same time, we don’t believe they’re a health risk. We’ve got one that had a bit of a double dip, and that will probably become clearer when you see the team selection (at Northampton). He could play, but it’s probably safer not to play him.”


Johnson on the initial breakout on the days leading up to the Wimbledon game

“I was so vocal on the Wimbledon game. You get a sense that this is serious because there were too many people with symptoms, coughing and spluttering. In hindsight, that game should have been called off. But it’s easy being a Monday-morning quarterback and looking at it now. At the time, that was genuinely how I felt, but at least we’re over it now and we can look to the future.”


The gaffer on Zoom workouts instead of training sessions

“It’s obviously not been ideal preparations, but I have to say that the boys have been absolutely top drawer. They’ve done everything we’ve asked of them to the letter of the law. The ones that were struggling – and there were three or four that were struggling – seem to have bounced back. The last couple of days, we’ve had relative consistency in terms of a training group and a team to work with.”


LJ on Covid spreading throughout the Football League as well as society as a whole and the possibility of the season being extended

“I was warned that it was Sunderland, so there’d be some fun and surprises! To be fair, everybody is dealing with their own versions of it, whether that is key players out with Covid or some managers that have had it. I think the challenge is to thrive in the uncertainty. Naturally, you’ve got concerns. We want to try to advance in the Papa John’s Trophy, so if that was to go well, potentially we could have 32 games just to finish the season. That is a lot to fit in, particularly given the fact that our Fleetwood game has been called off too. It’s going to take some sort of algorithm or brainbox to slot in the fixtures, or of course you could extend the season, which is an option open to the EFL.”


In other news, the EFL had issued new Covid-19 guidance to all clubs. Indoor training is banned. Players must change at home. Changing rooms must be closed. Travel to away games must take place in two or three coaches, depending on size of travelling party. Fines and points deductions will be issued to clubs not adhering to the rules.