John Coleman: Accrington Stanley boss says season must be extended

John Coleman's Accrington Stanley had both their Christmas games cancelled - at Doncaster, then the home game with Sunderland
John Coleman's side had both Christmas games cancelled - by Doncaster Rovers and Sunderland

The league season has to be extended in the wake of increased Covid-19 cases, says Accrington manager John Coleman.

The League One club have had six games postponed because of the virus and played just 16 - three fewer than more than half the sides in the division.

"Football needs a reality check," he said on BBC Radio 5 live Breakfast.

"You have to factor in games also get called off because of the weather. If you add a few in the only logical conclusion is to extend the season."

When asked if there should be a break in the season, he said "if we have to, yes", adding: "We've got to take it a day at a time and try to get this right. There was testing every week for the first two or three weeks. Then it was put to bed really."

Stanley have 30 games to fit in before the scheduled end of the English Football League regular season on 8 May.

"We will have to play one game every four days," said Coleman. "That's going to be a tall order.

"I believe in picking my best team every week so you don't have the opportunity to rotate like the big Premier League clubs have, so it's a physical demand on the players."

However, Coleman warns the season would need to be finished by the end of June.

"I was banging this drum last season," he said. "You can't go past 30 June. It's just impractical because you've got so many players out of contract."

Stanley, who are eighth in the table, are due to host second-placed Portsmouth on Saturday. Pompey called off two Christmas matches when five members of their squad and backroom team tested positive.

"They're confident they're going to travel," added Coleman. "Fingers crossed it doesn't get too cold."

We have to plan ahead - QPR head of medical

Dr Imtiaz Ahmad, an NHS doctor in south London and head of medical at Championship side Queens Park Rangers, told BBC Radio 4's Today Programme: "With numbers increasing, it's concerning.

"One of the reasons for the original shutdown was because of the impact on the NHS. Despite how important football is to all of us, we have to remember that that's one of the major reasons.

"We know people get a lot of satisfaction and improved well-being from being involved in watching and talking about football, however we have to respect there's a pandemic going on.

"I'd certainly be planning ahead, thinking if we do have to introduce a break then what would it look like? If we plan now then hopefully if that situation was to arise then we'd be in a better position."

Top Stories

Elsewhere on the BBC