Lambert on his positive coronavirus test, a need for better testing, risking health and delaying season due to outbreaks

Town manager Paul Lambert has tested positive for coronavirus

Paul Lambert is among 11 staff and players at Ipswich Town to have tested positive for coronavirus. Photo: Steve Waller - Credit: Steve Waller

Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert has called for a much-improved coronavirus testing regime in the EFL while also discussing the possibility of extending the season in response to the rise in cases.

The Town boss is currently self-isolating at home after testing positive for the virus over the weekend, along with five players and general manager Lee O’Neill, with the club expecting further positives when the rest of the squad are tested again on Wednesday. 

Ipswich physio Matt Byard has proposed a brief stoppage across the sport in a bid to control infection rates, following positive tests at Portsmouth, Sunderland, Millwall, Rotherham and Peterborough in recent days, with Lambert believing the season could be extended into the summer to make room for a break at this stage. 

“I think you could extend the season into June because, no disrespect, League One and League Two don’t have too many international players that need to go to the Euros this summer,” Lambert said on Sky Sports. 

Manager Paul Lambert and general manager Lee O'Neill have both tested positive for coronavirus

Manager Paul Lambert and general manager Lee O'Neill have both tested positive for coronavirus - Credit: Steve Waller

“Could you extend it? Yes, you possibly could to that. I don’t think anybody would have any grievance about that. 

“There’s got to be safer way and a fairer way to get through. Whether it’s making sure the testing goes right through (the divisions) because at the minute I know for a fact it’s not working.” 

The positive tests at Ipswich have led to Town’s games with Northampton and Wimbledon being postponed, while the Blues must also find room for their visit to Peterborough after the planned game last Saturday was postponed due to a positive test in the Posh camp. 

Key to ensuring the fixture programme can go ahead, in Lambert’s opinion, is a vast improvement to the sporadic testing regime the club have had over the course of the campaign to date. 

“This is where I find it wrong,” he said. “It’s all one governing body football, it’s a universal game. I’ve got friends in Germany, sporting directors in the third league in Germany, and they’re getting tested twice a week and they can’t travel 52 hours before the game. 

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“We are getting led on a wing and a prayer with the testing. Since we’ve been back in July, I think we’ve been tested six or seven times. In between those times it’s been mayhem. 

“Nobody knows if they’re going into games with the virus or not with the virus. That for me is where it’s wrong. 

“Germany has only three professional leagues and the protocols I’m pretty sure are all the same. 

“It’s wrong what’s happened because you’re putting everybody at risk. The Government are telling you not to go out, not to travel, stay at home if you can. 

“Well, here’s a good idea, go and play football and get some more cases on your books. It’s wrong. That’s just my opinion. 

“If the testing was right down the leagues and everybody was being tested twice a week, like I’m pretty sure the Premier League is, then things would be better. 

“It should be the same for everybody else because you’re putting people’s welfare at risk. I picked it up, it’s definitely not a great thing to catch.”