Club statement: “All the other members of the squad and staff returned negative tests and will begin training next week ahead of the proposed play-off semi-final against Exeter City”
By Ian Bolton, Sky Sports News reporter
Last Updated: 31/05/20 12:27am
Colchester United’s players are set to return to the club’s training base on Monday, ahead of plans to compete in the League Two play-offs, despite four people at the club testing positive for COVID-19.
League Two clubs will decide whether to change regulations to allow the season to be curtailed due to the coronavirus pandemic on June 8.
Fourth-tier teams voted earlier this month to end the season and play the play-offs to determine the final promotion place. However, that verdict has not been confirmed by the English Football League (EFL).
Head Coach John McGreal believes the decision to give the go-ahead for Premier League matches to restart next month will pave the way for EFL matches to start again too.
On Saturday evening, Colchester confirmed that four unnamed people at the club have tested positive for COVID-19 after players and staff were tested.
“Of the twenty-eight Colchester United players and staff that completed tests at Florence Park earlier this week, four returned positive results for the virus,” a statement read.
“All the other members of the squad and staff returned negative tests and will begin training next week ahead of the proposed Play-Off Semi-Final against Exeter City.”
Prior to this announcement, McGreal told Sky Sports News: “It seems to be getting closer and closer especially the decision of the Premier League taking place now. That’s now hopefully going to have a knock-on effect with the lower leagues as well, which is great.”
McGreal says he’s unsure how long it’ll take to get the squad back to full fitness, but believes all of his players are keen to return. He’s unaware of any who feel uncomfortable about going back.
“This week’s been positive. We’ve had testing this week. We’re looking now to train this coming Monday.
“By all accounts, the club have put in the policies in the guidelines to get us to this stage and it looks as if we’re ready to go into Phase One from Monday.
“There’s been chats and asking about welfare on the zoom meetings. They’ve done all the fitness work to date, they look fit and healthy to be fair and every single one of them to a man wants to get back in place.
“It’s not as if they’ve been sitting on a beach. They’ve actually been working hard, so if we get given two weeks, I’ll take two weeks. If it’s three and four then even better, but we’re just looking forward to getting back and playing some football.
McGreal is hoping for an announcement soon regarding the completion of the 2019-20 campaign, particularly with some players out of contract at the end of next month.
“If we get the play-offs up and running, and finished by June 30, that would be great. I think that’s what the EFL are trying to put in place,” he added.
“We’re hoping for the ratification. Not just ourselves, but the other play-off teams in our division will want a date to work from.
“There have been one or two dates that have been mentioned but until there’s clarity with it, we’re just guessing.
“We don’t want to guess anymore, we just want a date in place so we know where we can move forward.”
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Source : Sky Sports