Wigan Athletic old boy is one of last men kicking

Former Wigan Athletic striker Adam Le Fondre is proud to be carrying the flag for the beautiful game and providing people with their football fix as one of the few players in the world still playing amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Adam Le Fondre during his Latics daysAdam Le Fondre during his Latics days
Adam Le Fondre during his Latics days

The spread of Covid-19 has shaken society to its foundations, with the sporting calendar decimated in a bid to quell the vicious disease sweeping the globe.

Just a handful of events are still going ahead and the A-League, Australia's premier men's competition, is among those ploughing on.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

It means that Le Fondre - who scored one goal in 13 appearances for Latics in the 2015-16 campaign - will be one the only players gracing the turf this weekend, when his Sydney FC side taking on local rivals Western Sydney Wanderers.

"With us being the only football going, the onus is sort of on you to carry the flag of that, I guess," the 33-year-old said.

"I guess everyone is going to be watching because we're the only football fix you can have, so it's on us to keep people entertained. That's what we have to do.

"It's a duty of care to the game of football, and Australian football, really, and the A-League.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"We've got to all as players put on a show, where we can be proud of the product we're showing everyone.

"We've got to keep that up for everyone to see and drum up interest in the league because ultimately that makes everything better for us in the long run, too."

Australian measures to curb Covid-19 means Saturday's Sydney derby will be played behind closed doors - but there will be far more viewers than usual given the dearth of live sport.

BT Sport are broadcasting the game in the UK, offering football fans the chance for 90 minutes of escapism on Saturday morning.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The match is also a welcome distraction for Le Fondre, whose parents are stranded in the Canary Islands at a time when he is trying to do his job on the other side of the world.

"I've got family that are in Lanzarote in the minute," he said.

"My parents are there, and they've got respiratory issues as well. They can't get out at the moment because the flights have been cancelled.

"So obviously I've got worries back home, but for us here it seems to be that there's not as much to worry about.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"We seem to have enough of it contained for now to not have as big a struggle as Europe or Asia really had, and hopefully we do contain that properly as a country because obviously it's been devastating."

Le Fondre swapped Bolton for Sydney in August 2018 and the free-scoring striker has netted 16 goals in 19 appearances for the table-topping Sky Blues this season, having helped them become A-League champions in his first campaign.

There is a winning mindset around the club and the Stockport-born striker knows mentality will be more important than ever when the world watches a derby played in front of empty stands on Saturday.

"I've never played a league game behind closed doors," said Le Fondre, a Manchester United fan who watched their crowdless Europa League clash at LASK on TV last week.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"I've only had that in friendlies and even friendlies I've struggled to do that - it's like training ground games, really.

"Obviously, the mentality on everyone has to be better.

"Whoever mentally prepares best for this game is obviously going to come out on top, so it's a great test for us all, really, as players because we're all looking forward to this.

"It should be a great spectacle for us all to get involved in and hopefully we put on a great show for people watching and people can get their football fix watching us.

"Hopefully we all perform to our high standards and it's a great game for everyone to watch."