Preston North End set a date for a return to training

Preston North End have put their squad on alert for a return to training on May 16.

Monday, 13th April 2020, 6:00 am

Last week EFL chairman Rick Parry sent a letter to all clubs outlining the league’s stance on trying to get the season restarted.

In the letter, Parry wrote that it was feasible to get the remainder of the campaign played to a finish in a 56-day period.

He also advised that clubs should not bring their players back in for training before May 16.

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Peter Ridsdale, advisor to Preston North End owner Trevor Hemmings
Peter Ridsdale, advisor to Preston North End owner Trevor Hemmings

North End’s players have been working to individual fitness programmes at home during the lockdown.

Those programmes will take on more intensity in the couple of weeks before the proposed return.

Peter Ridsdale, advisor to PNE owner Trevor Hemmings, told the Lancashire Post: “We have worked out a timetable based on being back on May 16.

“The individual fitness programmes they’ve been doing will be ramped up to make sure they are not coming back cold.

“Coming back on May 16 is with an assumption that games will start on the first weekend of June.

“That would fit in with the season being finished in the 56-day period which Rick Parry mentioned in the letter.

“If we are working towards a start in the first weekend of June, coming back on May 16 would give the players three weeks to get match fit.

“This gives us something to work towards and of course everything will be done with Government advice.”

There is a high probability of matches being played behind closed doors when the season does resume.

It is assumed that the fixtures will be played in their scheduled order, there being nine rounds of games left.

The EFL’s 56-day plan takes into account the play-offs, PNE in the mix to try and claim a top-six slot.

On the prospect of being behind closed doors, Ridsdale said: “Football will have to take advice on that.

“Our preference would be for games to be played in front of supporters because the game is all about the fans.

“However, we will have to be guided and advised by the Government.

“For the integrity of the game, this season has to be completed.

“If that has to be done with a behind-closed-doors policy, it will be.”

Inevitably, there will be a later start to next season.

Currently the early June start is at the proposal stage but should it get the go-ahead the season would run well into the summer.

The gap between the end of this season and the start of next would not be a long one, nothing like the usual break which allows for holidays and a full pre-season.