As you know by now, the Imps game this Friday against MK Dons has been called off.
Now, I’m not much of a betting man (because I’m crap at it), but I’d wager that the same will happen again for the clash with Charlton next week. That means one, maybe two fixtures to squeeze into the next month, increasing pressure on the squad. Remember, many of our players are not expected back much before the end of April, so there is little benefit to be gleaned in terms of the squad.
To clarify, before we look at fixture solutions, there is no ‘silver lining’ to this occurrence. In an ideal world, Friday’s game goes ahead and none of our players or staff has Covid. Fans of other clubs that suggest otherwise are utter morons and absolutely reflective of the sort of idiot that has access to social media at the moment. There is no guarantee the players who do have Covid will come back fit in three weeks time – look at how it affected Harry Anderson, James Jones and Lewis Montsma in the weeks since they were thought to be suffering.
Actually, the sort of posts people put on the EFL statement enraged me, but I should learn to accept them by now I guess. How is it a benefit not to play games when the key players we needed for a promotion push (Hopper, Walsh, Grant etc) are not expected to be back anyway? It’s typical of the short-sighted, reactionary nonsense the average football fan posts these days and it is an insult to the club.
Liam Scully Says
For the record, this is what Liam Scully told local media about the club’s Covid protocols: “As part of the meetings we’ve had with the EFL and with Public Health Lincolnshire, we’ve been commended for our efforts,” he said.
“We’ve been told the club has been very good in identifying and isolating the cases. There are a lot of unknowns with the virus still. Despite the testing, despite the protocols, we believe it’s been transmitted through the group, be that through the changing rooms, through the time they spend together on one of the team coaches, we don’t know. That’s why we had to suspended first-team activity in order to break the spread of the virus throughout our camp.”
So calls to ‘dock them points’ are rubbish. Grimsby weren’t docked points when they missed fixtures due to one case, were they? In fact, several clubs closed the training ground, Shrewsbury I think did too, and that didn’t result in a points loss.
Anyway, onto the possible fixture congestion issue. We currently have two Tuesday evenings available to play matches on, 13th April and May 4th. Currently, there are already a raft of fixtures on the 13th, plus there is an outside chance that could be too soon. I guess the plan will be to get the game against Blackpool to go ahead a week on Saturday, so in that instance, we could rearrange either fixture for the 13th. even if that is the case, we would then need to play the other fixture on May 4th.
Let us assume that MK Dons is rearranged for the 13th, which would leave us to face Charlton on May 4th, the same night Blackpool play Doncaster and Ipswich play Shrewsbury. How is that for a night of football, three matches all of which could have a huge bearing on who finishes in the top six. Right not, Blackpool and Doncaster can both catch us with games in hand, but they will take points from each other. Charlton might be out of it by then, but there is a chance them and Ipswich could need wins to sneak in too.
The big issue comes if we are still unable to fulfil fixtures by the time we are due to face Blackpool, because that could see us without a Tuesday to fulfil a fixture. Obviously, the club will be working to rectify that, but I can’t see the FA or EFL wanting to have a game that big played after the so-called final day of the season. Sadly, that might be the only solution, because pushing a club to play three games in a week, or seven games in three weeks, would just be too much.
May 4th was a big day for me in 2018 as I had my back op, and a day later we secured a play-off place by drawing with Yeovil at the Bank. The way things are going, we might just need to channel our inner Jedi once again on what could be a Turbulent Tuesday of League One football helping to decide the fate of five play-off chasing clubs.