This will get worse before it gets better - Wigan Athletic boss
Wigan Athletic have this week had their closest brush with Covid-19 yet - and manager John Sheridan admits it's a situation that will probably get worse before it gets better.
Two players - defenders Nathan Cameron and Adam Long - are currently isolating after testing positive.
This weekend's opponents Crewe have three players - Omar Beckles, who spent much of summer training with Latics, and two unnamed team-mates - currently isolating.
The Railwaymen saw last weekend's game at Oxford postponed at the 11th hour because of positive tests, and Sheridan admits it's just another hurdle that 2020 is throwing up.
When asked whether it's becoming the norm, Sheridan said: “Possibly yes, and it’s something that will probably only get worse as well.
“With the weather coming up and the dark nights on the way, you’ll probably find there’s more on the way.
“I just think it’s important people continue to get tested, and people with far more expertise than me are keeping an eye on those things, and making sure people are sticking to the rules that need to be stuck by.
“As a football club we’ve stuck to every single protocol that’s there, straight away the players were isolated as they should be.
“You’ve got to stick to the rules, there’s no other way to get around that."
Not that the situation has had an adverse effect on preparations heading into this weekend's game.
“No, I don’t think it’s affected the mood in the squad," Sheridan said. “Obviously you don’t want any cases, but we’ve got two cases.
"It’s what’s happening up and down the country, and it’s going to happen more and more.
“We’ve tried to do all the right things, and we just don’t want any more cases now.
“We’re trying to keep as safe and clean as we can, because we don’t want it getting to a point where we’re missing games because of it."
Ever the professional, Sheridan himself is focusing only on matters he can control.
“I’m just a football manager trying to manage a football club," he said.
“If I’m told the game’s going ahead on Saturday, and we’re allowed to play the game, I’ve got to focus on my group and what team I will be putting out.
“It’s up to other people above me to make any other decisions that need to be made.
“If they make the decision that the game can’t go ahead, you’ve got to accept that decision has been made by professional people who are only thinking of your welfare - and you abide by it.”
One massive side-effect of Covid-19 - from a football point of view - is the continued absence of fans at matches.
And it's something Sheridan admits is a major talking point at all levels of football.
“I think every manager of every club would answer the question in the same way - we want fans back," he acknowledged.
“It’s massively important, because they are a massive part of the game.
“Whether that’s for financial reasons or to get behind the team...it’s just not the same, is it?
“You’ve not got the advantage of having your supporters there for home games, and away games aren’t as intimidating without the opposition fans getting behind their side.
“Look at our game at Portsmouth the other week...we managed to win there, on any other day they’d have had 20,000 fans behind them.
“Personally, I’d find it very hard if I was a player, because you’re used to playing in front of a crowd.
“We need to try to get them back, but we also have to stick to the rules to keep everyone safe.”