‘It will be dangerous to ask footballers to play 90 minutes’ – Lambert on potential return to action without a proper pre-season

Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert. Photo: ROSS HALLS

Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert. Photo: ROSS HALLS - Credit: Archant

Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert insists it will be ‘dangerous’ to ask footballers to play full 90 minutes matches straight off the back of a prolonged period of shut-down due to the coronavirus crisis.

The Blues were last in action against Coventry at the start of March and the players have not trained as a group for a month. The EFL have advised that clubs should not recommence any training activity with players until May 16 at the earliest and said that ‘whenever the decision is taken that it is safe to resume, we currently estimate that the league will require approximately 56 days to complete (including play-offs)’.

A report from ESPN says that the EFL are making ‘tentative plans to return to action on June 6’ following a mini pre-season at the back end of May, suggesting teams have been contacting each other in a bid to arrange training ground friendlies. Games will, almost certainly, be held behind closed doors.

“The players would normally have six weeks off in the summer before returning to pre-season training,” Lambert told the club website.

MORE: Town youngster Dobra close to signing new long-term contract

“We don’t know when training will begin again but it’s going to be well past six weeks. It will be dangerous for players to be asked to go and play 90 minutes of football without a proper ‘pre-season’.

“You can use the squad and play some of the youngsters but they still need a decent time to get match fit.

“At the moment though, we can’t plan for anything. But there are bigger things going on in the world anyway.

“It’s a worrying time for everyone. My mum and dad are back home in Scotland and I’ve not seen them since Christmas. I talk to them every day but it’s tough.”

Lambert has previously said, in two separate radio interviews, that he the authorities should look at allowing clubs to use 11 substitutes upon the return to action.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter