Preston North End could be back in training THIS weekend

Preston North End are awaiting the green light to return to training this weekend in the wake of the Government publishing their road map to exiting the lockdown.

By Dave Seddon
Tuesday, 12th May 2020, 8:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 12th May 2020, 8:49 am

The Lilywhites hope to be back at work at Springfields on Saturday but that does need approval from the EFL.

It was the EFL who early in April advised no training before May 16, that with a view to the season restarting early in June.

Yesterday the Government announced that behind-closed-doors top-level sport could return from June 1.

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PNE players Ben Pearson and Tom Barkhuizen at Springfields during pre-season training in July last year

That was not unexpected with neither the EFL or the Premier League planning to play games before then.

Attached to the June 1 date was an ‘at the earliest’ tag, with it part of the Government’s step 2 of unlocking. PNE advisor Peter Ridsdale told the Lancashire Post: “We are planning to be back on May 16 and we are waiting to hear from the EFL.

“If we are going to be playing games from early in June, the players need time on the training ground to work on their fitness.

“What we have done is to put plans in place to come back at the weekend, subject to getting the go-ahead.

“We want to complete the season and being to able to train again would be a big step towards that.

“The players can do a certain amount of fitness work at home but they can’t kick a ball to one another.”

In April when the season was suspended indefinitely, the EFL wrote to clubs saying it would be possible to play the campaign to a finish, including the play-offs, over a 56-day period.

The weekend of June 6 was indicated as a provisional restart date, with a three-week training build-up. It might be that June 6 is a bit early in the timetable.

Ridsdale said: “When the players return, they will need a mini pre-season.

“That programme is something Alex Neil and his staff will put in place.

“What we need now is confirmation that we are allowed to do that.”

Social distancing and safety measures will be in place at Springfields when the players do get back – whether that is this weekend or later.

There will be no use of the buildings, with the squad arriving in their training kit and taking it home to wash.

Lunches are to be prepared by the club for the players to eat at home.

The gym will not be in use for players to workout, with that being used instead by the physio to treat injured players on an appointment basis.

North End last played on March 7 against QPR, with the season initially suspended on March 13 – on the eve of the visit to Luton Town.