Oldham midfielder Giles Coke has called on those in charge to implement allotted time for a mini pre-season before the season eventually resumes.
Whilst the coronavirus pandemic has caused the footballing world to stop in its tracks, players all over Europe have been left to try and maintain fitness levels in the comfort of their own home with many training grounds being shut as a precaution.
The pandemic has led to both the Premier League and the EFL to today announce that all matches will be suspended until April 30th at the earliest.
The unplanned hiatus has led many to question what happens to the remainder of all of the league campaigns; debate is rife as to whether they should be scrapped entirely or simply keep getting pushed back until it is fit to play.
Speaking to Love Sport Breakfast, Oldham player Giles Coke revealed he thinks it isn’t as straightforward as simply diving straight back into matches when the leagues are given the green light to resume.
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“Like when we finish a normal season then have eight weeks off, we then have to come back to have a good six to eight week pre-season. So it’s looking already like we are going to be having three or four weeks off, so to just go straight back into normality and straight back into games is quite impossible to be honest.
“Players could get injured, fitness levels have dropped. Yeah, we have been given a fitness regime to be doing at home, but that’s not the same as when you are training day in, day out with your team mates and practising on certain things.
“It’s a big mess and like you said I really do think when it does start back up there is going to have to be some sort of three/four week mini pre-season as such to get back up to scratch.”
Coke himself is in his 12th day of self-isolation after he began to display flu-like symptoms. He, along with the rest of the Oldham squad, have been told to steer clear of the training ground.
“No, tests weren’t made available. I was told not to go into my local GP, to stay at home. We didn’t know if it was actually the coronavirus or just a coincidence that it was a flu but I was really poorly so I took the advice that was given to me and stayed at home."
He did express his concerns over the damaging effect COVID-19 could have financially on some of the smaller clubs in the country.
“I know they are obviously saying they are giving a loan to the EFL clubs that may be struggling which is great, but what happens if football doesn’t continue after two or three months? We are still going to be in the same situation where the lower-level clubs are struggling so what happens? I think, as players, you naturally start thinking that this is a worrying time.”
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