BY DANIEL MARSH
Glyn Hodges has revealed that Wimbledon’s game with Lincoln City went ahead despite Covid concerns after the EFL deemed the Dons squad to be “big enough”.
Hodges spoke to the club website prior to the game going ahead and revealed that seven players were self-isolating ahead of the game. The EFL gave the game the go-ahead on Friday.
The Dons manager said: “We tested early. We went to play Sunderland before Christmas and one of our players came down with Covid, so over Christmas and on Boxing Day we were struggling. After Boxing Day, we had four who were in the dressing room with Covid, so we decided to test the next day and the tests confirmed what we thought.
“The testing was A, to see how far it’s spread, we want to be proactive before the testing next week. And B, I wanted to pick the strongest team I could here – that gave me a view. When we realised how many had got it, and how many maybe should be isolating that’s when we thought should this game go ahead? They [Lincoln] had the same feeling. One of their players dropped out this morning. That was my thinking – that’s why we tested, to be proactive.”
Despite having four players with Covid and another player self-isolating, Wimbledon’s request for the game to be postponed was not approved by the EFL.
“They [the EFL] just said the squad’s big enough,” Hodges added.
“There’s no threshold. However big your squad is, we’ve added our U23s to our matchday list because they play in the EFL trophy. That qualifies them to play for the team. It can be [counter-productive] but we have to accept it. Other clubs do it – I think it was Lincoln who played previously and only had three subs. They’re probably not quite ready for this level yet, but it depends on your numbers. We accept that – it’s happened before. I think some people haven’t been able to name their full quota of subs.
“You don’t know – maybe we’re going to test again on Tuesday and some more go down with it. We were quite surprised and shocked. But, we were more than happy to go ahead with the game once the EFL had seen fit. The team we put out today was strong enough to win the game.
“I think I read something today that says in the FA Cup if you’ve got 14 players you’ve got to play it. At least they give you guidelines there. We’ll put the U23s on the bench, we’ll put the U18s on the bench. We’re ready to play but it’s about the wider implications.
“When I had Covid in November, I gave it to my 84-year old father and my mother. When you do that and they’re in a bad way, it’s not a nice feeling. They’ve both had their first jab now. But we know it’s a bit worse this time with a strain that can be caught easier than before. So there are one or two concerns – the wider implications aren’t just about the football.”
PICTURES: KEITH GILLARD
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