It was announced today by the FA that professional football would be suspended until the 30th of April at the earlier due to the Covid-19 outbreak.
But how have Bristol City reacted to the delay? And what will it mean for them moving forward?
We assess in today’s FLW six pointer…
How were the Robins doing ahead of the delay?
“Their 1-1 draw against third-place Fulham may have meant City extended their winless run to five games but it had also seen them move to within one point of the play-off places, so there was a lot to be positive about for the Robins.
“City have been flirting with the top six all season but will likely be confident that with nine games left of the season, they can still achieve their target of a play-off finish.”
How have the club reacted?
“City revealed last week that squad training has been suspended for the time being and the City players have been given tailored programmes and are training on their own away from the Failand training ground.
“In a statement on the club website, they added: “We will continue to follow Government advice and work collaboratively to keep the situation under review”.”
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Is it all bad news?
“Clearly, this could have a detrimental effect on the club off the pitch, as it likely will across the EFL.
“However, it could also be good news for the Robins’ play-off push.
“It will allow some of their injured players to return to fitness and will give Johnson and his squad some time to assess what was going wrong during their winless run, so they can try to put it right and get back to winning ways as soon as possible.”
Which players will it allow to recover?
“Benik Afobe has been missing since he suffered a ligament injury in September but was back in training before the start of the delay and may now play a part during the run-in.
“Dan Bentley, Nathan Baker, Marley Watkins, and Adam Nagy have all been struggling with injury issues recently so the delay should allow them to return to full fitness.
Will it cause any contract issues?
“It could do, yes. It now looks as if the season is likely to finish in June, if not later.
“City have four loan players in their squad, whose current deals mean they’re set to return to their club’s at the end of May–if they want those players to stay on, you’d imagine alterations will have to be made.
“They also have a number of players whose contracts expire at the end of June, including Korey Smith and Niki Maenpaa. If the season extends past the end of June, action will need to be taken to solve that issue.”
What will the Robins’ aspirations be once the season resumes?
“Their focus will be what it has been throughout the season–finishing in the top six.
“With nine games to go, they sit one point away from the play-off places and may feel that they will be in a better place to achieve that goal after the delay.”