Millwall boss on Covid-19 cases cancelling their Christmas matches – and whether he expects season to be completed

Gary Rowett is hopeful that the Championship season will be completed – despite Millwall being forced to postpone their Christmas fixtures due to a number of positive Covid-19 cases.

The Lions are not due to be back in action until the start of 2021.

And they are just one of a number of clubs – including the likes of Peterborough, Ipswich and Bristol Rovers – to be forced to call off their matches.

London has also recently moved into a new tier four category as the government looks to control the rise in Covid-19 cases.

Last season the domestic football campaign shut down in March and did not resume until late in June – even then with matches taking place behind closed doors.

Asked if he expected the season to finish, Rowett said: “I would hope it does. I think we’ll get more cases from more clubs – you’ve seen the national cases rise and I can only imagine that is going to get worse over Christmas, that it’s only going to increase.

“We’ve seen more cases in the EFL recently. We’re not an isolated case. We’re going to see more cases after Christmas. We don’t know the impact but I hope we can finish the season.

“The challenge is that different teams have been affected in different ways, that’s the same for us.

“We’ve still got to maintain players’ fitness and shut down the training ground for a period – we’re having almost a little circuit break so other people don’t get symptoms.

“At the right point we have to come back and start doing individual training, it’s like the start of the first lockdown. It’s an absolute nightmare – players will be able to use the training pitches without going in the building.

“We don’t want to be in the position where we’ve lost the tiny bit of momentum.

“It’s really difficult for every club. Every club is taking the steps that they have to but what you can’t isolate every player from their own families and going out to the shops – all those scenarios.

“You get one case and try to make the right decision to isolate that player. But if there is another case the next day then you have to act quickly. Some clubs have had scenarios where they’ve had double figures.

“It’s been a really difficult and challenging period for every club. They have to make a decision based on what is safe and proper for everyone. Regrettably we’ve had to do that off the back of two good results.

“With London going into tier four the safety of everyone around is the first thing and to make sure it doesn’t spread further through the squad.”

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