With the season postponed until at least April 30th, due to the Coronavirus, Phil Parkinson has been updating fans regarding the situation at SAFC.

“We were due to come back in on Monday this week for training, that was the plan, but then last Thursday the date that the season was due to resume was put back to April 30,” Parkinson said. “We looked at it and, at that, point we were still six weeks away from the season starting again, so we told the players to stay at home this week with a view to them returning in small groups next week for what would effectively become a five-week pre-season. We were following the guidelines at the time and we felt we would be able to bring in groups of six players, already in their kit, park up at the training ground, go straight out onto the training pitch, do the work and go home. At that stage, with the season due to resume in five weeks’ time, it would have been a case of doing physical work so I don’t think it would have mattered that they were working in small groups. Nearer the time, obviously, you would have to introduce bigger numbers and do football sessions. That was the original plan, but of course that has changed following the Prime Minister’s announcement on Monday night.

The gaffer admitted that it’s hard to plan with things changing so quickly, almost every day. “Myself and the staff keep talking about what to do next, but the situation keeps changing around us and we have to keep adapting our plans to that. So now the players will be working from home while the country is in lockdown for the next three weeks, and we’ll see what happens then. In the meantime, the players will continue to liaise with our sports science department on a regular basis and follow programmes at home. Nick Allamby has set programmes for everybody, and he has had his own meetings via conference calls with the medical department to put things in place.”

Parkinson also confirmed that currently no one at the club has shown any symptoms of COVID-19. “We have had no cases within the squad or the coaching staff,” Parkinson said. “Everyone has been able to do the programmes they have been set, no-one has had to go into self-isolation or anything. The most important thing is people’s health, not just the players and the immediate people who work at the football club, but my thoughts are with our supporters and people in general. We all want to come through this and get back to some kind of normality at some point, but at the moment football seems a bit of an irrelevance – that’s how it feels talking about football. We are in unprecedented times. Football is what unites us and of course it is important, but at the moment it feels like a very small part of a much bigger picture. I just want everyone to come through this so that we can get back to normality.”

Meanwhile, on the injury front, both Bailey Wright and Charlie Wyke are working on their rehabs. “Pete Brand is working with the injured players – Bailey Wright has been doing work individually and is progressing well,” Parkinson said. “Charlie Wyke has been able to do work for his back problem; he had another injection in that. We just have to make sure that all the lads are doing the right work, and they are all good professionals who will keep themselves in the best shape possible. Following the new Government guidelines, they are still able to go out to exercise once per day so they can go for a run or a bike ride or whatever. We just have to make sure that when we are able to come back, we have done as much as we possibly can in the circumstances.”