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Ipswich Town could begin pre-season training by end of July

PUBLISHED: 17:36 10 July 2020

It remains unclear when Town will return for pre-season training Picture: ROSS HALLS

It remains unclear when Town will return for pre-season training Picture: ROSS HALLS

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The Ipswich Town squad could begin pre-season training before the end of July.

Ipswich Town could return to training in the next two weeks Picture: ROSS HALLSIpswich Town could return to training in the next two weeks Picture: ROSS HALLS

Paul Lambert hasn’t had his players together at their Playford Road training ground since March 13, the day football in this country was suspended due to the coronavirus crisis, but plans are in place for the Blues’ players to return.

The training ground has been largely empty ever since, though work on the grounds has continued throughout much of the last four months, with club meetings all conducted online.

Town’s League One season was cancelled with eight games left to play but the EFL are now discussing two potential start dates for 2020/21 - August 29 and September 12. The latter appears to be more likely, with a hope of reduced crowds returning by then.

With that in mind, the club are pressing ahead with plans for pre-season training, with a return on either July 20 or 27th understood to be under discussion, depending on a start date for next season.

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Any return to training will be phased and be subject to strict guidelines that will see players initially train in small groups, arrive already in training kit and leave immediately after sessions have finished. No showers will be in use and the canteen area will not be in operation.

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Players will need to be tested twice a week for Covid-19 in line with government requirements, while social distancing will be in place.

“There is nothing concrete in place at all about when the season will start and how,” Town’s general manager football operations, Lee O’Neill, said.

“A couple of dates have been mentioned and we are putting the wheels in motion for the players to return towards the end of this month.

“Obviously we have to have everything in place to meet the guidelines and that presents challenges in itself but we will be ready to go.

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“As and when football moves forward is still unclear though. We are waiting for clarity from the EFL and they will be waiting for clarity from the government.”

It’s understood some tentative conversations have been had with other clubs regarding pre-season friendlies, which could potentially be played at training grounds.

The fixtures for the new season are unlikely to be released until the middle of August, given the Championship play-off final and the make-up of the third tier will not be completed until August 4.


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