Cheltenham Town were forced to miss two fixtures in League Two last week after a positive COVID-19 test halting all forms of club training for the senior and academy sides.
Players and staff were made to self-isolate as per the EFL and Government guidance in order to mitigate against the risk of further infection.
It meant that for a week the club were unable to operate at their training facility for both the senior and academy squads.
“So it has just been a case of shutting down the training ground and making sure that there is no one around really to cut any potential spread,” said Cheltenham Town Media and Communications manager Richard Joyce.
STATEMENT: The club’s next two League Two matches have been suspended following recent COVID-19 positive tests and the requirement for players and staff to self-isolate as per EFL and Government guidance.— Cheltenham Town (@CTFCofficial) February 1, 2021
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“The clubs has still been operating as normal from the stadium in terms of the operation side. But again just doing it as we should do with all the proper rules. Staff mainly working from home and some staff on furlough as well.
“But from a football perspective, yes everyone has been at home, not at the training ground. Making sure that we don’t take any risks and so that when all the testing is done, hopefully it comes back in a positive sense. Not in a sense of people testing positive but in a sense of it being good for us in terms of players returning to training as per normal.”
Despite the fact that only a handful of players actually tested positive for Coronavirus, it didn’t mean that the squad would have a relaxed week off.
“The EFL were quite clear,” Joyce said. “We’re not the first club, there’s several throughout the EFL who have been in this situation already.
“So they were quite clear straight away with: ‘right, everything shut down for the week. When the testing gets done and you get the results back from that then you go again’.
“I know a lot of the stuff they do when they’re not doing the physical side of it is that they are actually doing a lot of the tactical side of it. Previously they’ve done massive group Zoom calls and then they’ve watched tactical bits and pieces.
“For example, they’ve watched and studied, recently, a lot of how Sheffield United play. Of course, Sheffield united play a similar formation and had a very good season last season in the Premier League. They do similar thing in terms of the way their centre backs get forward and the way our wide centre backs get forward.
“As much as they haven’t been at the training ground the management would have been keen to keep their heads on it.
“Yes, it’s a week off. But it’s not a week off as in ‘right go home and do what you want’. It’s a week off where they still have to be switched on and intense. Otherwise the last thing you’d want to do would be to get back to it and not be on the ball.”
Cheltenham make the trip up north to face Harrogate Town on Tuesday and currently sit eighth in the table, one point off the play-off positions, with 41 points.