The break John Marquis believes Portsmouth must be given after the season finishes

Pompey striker John Marquis believes the EFL must ensure there's a four-week hiatus once the season is completed to protect players’ mental well-being.

Tuesday, 14th April 2020, 12:30 pm
Updated Tuesday, 14th April 2020, 12:40 pm

Chairman Rick Parry wrote to all 71 clubs last week outlining plans for the 2019-20 campaign to be finished in 56 days when it resumes amid the coronavirus crisis.

Parry also stated that clubs shouldn't be back at training until May 16.

With the country on lockdown, however, it means footballers are unable to take a proper holiday and recharge their batteries.

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And with a quick turnaround to start the 2020-21 campaign potentially in the offing, it would leave Kenny Jackett’s Blues with a short summer respite period.

Marquis stressed that can’t be the case, though.

He said players need to be given a month off for mental health reasons.

Speaking to the Sun on Sunday, the Blues forward said: ‘Players will need a mental break more than anything. As soon as this is over, most people will be looking to get away and out of the house.

Pompey striker John Marquis. Picture: Simon Davies

‘Mental health and well-being must be considered. It’s very strenuous for a lot of people being at home. Whether you’re alone or with a family, it can be difficult.

‘I can understand a quick turnaround but you’ve got to give the players four weeks off.

‘If it was down to me and the safety was there, I’d say get it done by the end of June, early July. Then have a three or four-week break before you get the new season up and running by the second half of August.

‘You can fit the games in then – although you might have to ditch the Carabao Cup and EFL Trophy for one season.

‘We're going to be required to cram a whole season into a shorter space of time and don’t forget there will be a lot of players who will be competing at next summer's Euro’s, too.

‘That must be considered in the scheduling otherwise everyone will be knackered.’

Pompey sit fourth in League One and two points outside the automatic promotion places.

The Blues have already had a fixture-congested season, having reached the EFL Trophy final and fifth round of the FA Cup.

The 56-day period set out by the EFL means Jackett’s men will be in action twice a week.

Marquis believes that plan is achievable – but any more than that will increase the likelihood of injuries.

The ex-Doncaster man added: ‘We’ve played a lot of games and everyone still feels pretty fit.

‘Everyone is ready to go but if we have a load of games in a short space of time it’ll be quite testing.

‘Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday is as much as we can realistically go.

‘If you throw a Thursday into the schedule, too, not only will the quality of the games take a massive dip but there’s a real risk of players picking up injuries.

‘It must be finished in the best and safest way for players.’