Swansea City midfielder Matt Grimes has suggested that the teams and their players who handle the break in the season the best could well prove to be best place to come out on top in the race for promotion.
Steve Cooper’s side are currently sat in 11th place in the Championship table, but they are also just three points adrift of the top six, following their goalless draw at home to West Bromwich Albion in their final game before the EFL season has had to be suspended.
The EFL announced this week that the delay to the season would now be until at least the end of April, which means that teams are facing the challenge of having to ensure that they do all they can to plan and prepare for when the season is eventually able to resume.
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Speaking to BBC Radio Wales, Grimes suggested that it could well be the teams that manage to prepare and plan most effectively during this period, could potentially hold an advantage over their rivals when it comes to the race to secure a top-six finish in the final nine matches.
He said: “It’s a big challenge for all the teams.
“I think whichever team handles this spell the best – it’s a unique situation, there are no guidelines – will give themselves the best opportunity when the season gets started again.
“It’s just keeping the motivation, keeping the mind right, going over old games and realising that while we have this time off to recharge a little bit, it’s not a holiday. We are still in-season.
“We need to make sure we are sharp in body and mind.”
You can fully understand where Grimes is coming from here, with the EFL suspension a very challenging situation for sides up and down the country, but they do at least have the clarity of now knowing that the season will not be up and running again until at least the end of April.
That will therefore allow teams to come up with suitable plans for how they can best manage the situation and come up with a method for keeping their players fit and ready to return to action, which will be vital for sides that are competing to either avoid relegation and battling for promotion.
Swansea are within touching distance of the Championship play-off places, and Grimes will be one player that they will be needing to have fully fit and firing when the season does resume, and his latest comments suggest that the Swans are confident that they can be one of the teams who are best prepared.
It will be interesting to see just which sides emerge from the suspension and managed to deliver the best and most consistent performances, and for Swansea it could well be the key to whether they can reduce the gap on the top six in the remaining matches.