Sidmouth Town boss speaks about all things pre-season in a Covid-19 world

PUBLISHED: 10:24 31 July 2020 | UPDATED: 10:24 31 July 2020

Sidmouth Town at home to Cullompton. Ref shsp 38 19TI 0048. Picture: Terry Ife

Sidmouth Town at home to Cullompton. Ref shsp 38 19TI 0048. Picture: Terry Ife

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Sidmouth Town manager Danny Burwood says he and his players are looking forward to getting back into some form of competitive action when the Vikings begin pre-season friendlies next Wednesday (August 5).

Unlike some teams who have been ‘back’ pre-season training for a number of weeks, the Vikings’ have been very careful to follow all the Covid-19 guidelines – Western League Exmouth Town also did not return to training until last weekend.

The Town boss explained saying: “We have been very clear as to exactly what the guidance is right now and that is that, while we can train in groups of up to 30, we are still not to use dressing rooms and showers and need to get our players to observe social distancing protocol and the like.

“I have heard of other teams across the country being back for some weeks, but we took the decision at Town that we would only return to group training when we could work in numbers greater than six and, indeed, when we were advised by the footballing authorities that we can return.

“Paramount for us at the club is the safety of everyone. At Town we are fortunate that we have four team sand with that four very enthusiastic managers, all willing to help out during these testing times trying to make such training sessions run as smoothly as possible and in line with all Covid-19 guidelines.”

With regard to the pre-season games, Burwood says: “ With the safety of players and club officials being foremost in our thoughts all our pre-season matches will certainly be run as ‘behind-closed-doors’ occasions.

“As things stand we will start at home to Heavitree United next Wednesday and, as far as changing rooms are concerned we won’t be using them as rules state not to.”

In addition to the visit of the Heavies next Wednesday, Town are also set to welcome Exmouth Town (August 12) and Exwick Villa (August 19) to Manstone Lane while they will travel to Colyton on August 28.

Burwood says: “Of course, prior to the friendly matches we will be discussing with the opposition just how we do indeed ensure best practise with regard to ensuring everyone is as safe as they can be.

“The training sessions at Manstone Lane so far have gone well.

“We have had first and second teams together on one night and then third and fourth on a different night, each session seeing teams of five players working with one coach and the groups have rotated well.

“One of the reasons for that rotation, safety and adhering to guidelines apart, is so that managers can get a look at all the players.”

He added: “It’s certainly the case that ‘so far so good’ applies to what we have been doing and I must thank all coaches for their commitment even at these early stages.

“The road ahead is going to be a tough test for everyone at the club, but it is certainly a situation that we are taking very seriously, enabling these events to run as smoothly as possible.”

● As things currently stand, the South West Peninsula League, Premier East season for Town kicks off on Saturday, September 5 with a Manstone Lane game against Plymouth Marjon.


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