Reading manager Mark Bowen has provided an update on his side’s training schedule amid the coronavirus outbreak, and has revealed that ‘two or three’ of his players are in self-isolation.
Nobody could foresee what’d be happening today, not only in football but around the world. All professional fixtures in England have been postponed until April 30th to fight the outbreak of coronavirus, and it’s cast a lot of doubt and debate over when and how it should resume, and how footballer’s should contain themselves during.
Reading unlike a lot of teams were training as normal up until this week, but after several Reading players have been forced into self-isolation, Bowen has called a halt to training for this week:
“Hopefully things get better sooner rather than later and football gets underway again – and with performances and results we can get our fans smiling again and forgetting the troubles of the world,” Bowen told BBC Radio Berkshire.
“We found that the game last Saturday against Stoke City was postponed and then, over the weekend we lost two or three players to self isolation. All were precautionary but they were both told to stay at home.”
“And as the week went on, we made a decision to carry on training the best we could and we had good numbers, 20 odd players, and we had some really good training sessions on the Monday and the Tuesday,” continued the Royals boss.
“The guys who have been in training last week have been really professional. The sessions have been a bit subdued at the start, probably because they’ve got the more important things on their mind.
“Last week it was very much a case of making the players aware of the severity of the situation and what is at stake. To a man they’ve all been very mature in their thinking.”
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Football clubs will want to keep their players in training for as long as possible. It’s set to be a number of weeks before the season resumes and it’s plenty of time for players to regain fitness and so on in-time for a strong finish.
But if players can’t train and are forced to self-isolate, it’ll put them all in precarious positions to finish the season.
“We had meetings on a daily basis and you try to give them assurances with the club doctors giving them advice, supplying them with as much information as we can,” concluded the Welshman.
Player safety has to be the paramount concern for football clubs right now. As it is for everyone, not just footballers, remaining fit and healthy until the outbreak is subdued is the most important factor.
As for Reading’s season, they look pretty much nailed on for another season of Championship football, and for Bowen it’s just about reassessing his team, finishing the season and then thinking about transfers and so on.