The Head Coach gives an update ahead of the COVID-19 testing and likely return to training for Barnsley Football Club.
Ahead of a return to Oakwell after 10 weeks away from the club, Reds Head Coach, Gerhard Struber spoke to us about the ‘first steps’ in football’s attempt to finish the 2019/20 campaign despite the challenges of the Coronavirus.
“We have the COVID-19 testing on Thursday (May 21),” the Austrian coach explained. “And then we hope that 24 hours or so later we have good results, that everyone is healthy and that the situation is ready for next Monday and a return to training.
“It will be in smaller training groups following different guidelines. It is five groups of five players, and with the big headline of social distancing.
“But it is the first step in the process of us getting back to normality.
“It will be a challenge, but as I say, it’s the first step as we look to return to football.
“The first week will be concentrated on athletic training, running mainly. But this is all that we can really do in this first moment.
“We have the measures in place and must continue to be aware of the Coronavirus.”
Despite the May 25 date pencilled in for a restart of training, there is still no confirmation of dates for the remaining nine games of the Sky Bet Championship season.
Struber feels it’s the English Football League’s duty to make a decision, and soon, as he hopes to lead Barnsley to safety with 27 points still up for grabs in the battle to retain their second tier status.
He said: “I think that the EFL - it is their responsibility in this time - to issue us with some kind of plan going forward.
“We need a time structure.
“It is so important for me, for my whole staff at the club and of course my players. And for the whole of the Championship. We urgently need a plan.
“When is the start date? When will we be playing our games? And also, what is the plan if or when the league is cancelled?
“What would be the situation with relegation and promotion? They have had such a long time to come up with a good decision around all this but right now we still have nothing and I really don’t understand why.”
If there is to be no completion of the current season, Gerhard is adamant that promotion or relegation cannot be determined.
He believes null and voiding the campaign would be the only answer to maintain the integrity of the competition.
“My opinion is very clear on this. If we cancel the rest of the season, then the results hold no value.
“It wouldn’t be easy and would be very disappointing for many clubs, but it’s very clear that a season is for 46 games and so if you cancel the season without playing 46 games, then we have no integrity of football.
“Integrity is the most important thing.
“But my big wish is that we can play. That we can finish the season. Then, we would have a Champion, we’d have promotion and relegation within the rules and retain football’s integrity.”