Portsmouth boss provides update on when players staying away from training might return

Kenny Jackett believes members of his Pompey squad who’ve stayed away from training will have more confidence to return now Covid-19 testing has started.

Wednesday, 10th June 2020, 7:00 am

Two of the Blues’ first-team set-up have chosen to undertake their fitness programmes away from the club’s Roko base.

However, testing for coronavirus has now begun, with all players and staff members’ first round of results returning negative on Sunday.

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And with tests taking place twice per week, coupled with Pompey’s place in the League One play-offs confirmed after the season was curtailed, he expects the individuals to be back among their team-mates in the near future.

The Pompey boss said: ‘It was good news we had no negative tests and we're pleased with the players and how they've kept themselves fit and focused.

‘Generally, if we can beat this virus then it'll be fantastic. There was doubt in the whole country because the death rate in the country was doubling every day at one point and you're wondering how far the virus was going to go.

‘It's not completely controlled but seems to be getting managed and we all have a better idea of how we can operate and minimise the risk.

Pompey players at training. Picture: Habibur Rahman

‘I've kept in touch with all of the players (who haven't been training).

‘They weren't in on Monday morning but we will assess it over the course of the week.

‘I think once they see a clear plan for this season then it'll be a bit easier for them. They can gain some confidence by some negative tests.

‘Everyone in the country is assessing how they can do their job and minimalising the risk when going back to work,

‘It's something we've seen in football with the German league, while the Premier League and Championship clubs have been back a little while in terms of training.

‘We can follow them, see how it's been handled and minimalise the risk.’

Following their negative test results, Pompey have been given the green light to step up to phase two of the government’s return to training guidance for elite sport.

That permits close-contact training, which the Blues will build up to later this week.

Jackett added: ‘We will move towards close-contact training during the course of the week.

‘The guidelines say to do it gradually, so maybe do it in four or fives and then build it up to 11.

‘That's common sense and you'd do that in pre-season anyway. We are okay to do contact training as the week goes by.’