New Covid protocols in place at QPR training ground

QPR: Harlington training ground

QPR boss Mark Warburton says new stringent Covid-19 protocols put in place around the club’s training ground could help avoid the postponement of more matches. 

Rangers saw their last two matches called off due to 10 players testing positive, but with Harlington now under strict new guidelines for players and staff, Warburton said there can’t be any excuses.

“We are under strict protocols – masks have to be worn at all times,” Warburton explained.

“We have players changing in kits, taking their kit home, rotas for the showers, and they then go up to eat in a rota system.

“We do analysis sessions while social distancing, which is obviously done over a huge area with the windows open, so everyone is sitting there freezing their whatever off because it’s so cold!

“There are one-way systems before you even come into the training ground. There’s no point coming in to the training ground and finding out they are positive – they have to test outside every single day.

“Once they get the green light they come in to the training ground.

“So there is no excuse now. The EFL are basically saying now you can’t turn around and say there was close contact at the training ground.

“We have to have the protocols in place to make sure that is not going to happen.

“I’ve got the staff thinned out. For example it will be John (Eustace) and I today (Thursday) Neil (Banfield) off, myself and Neil tomorrow with John off.

“There will be one goalkeeping coach and one of the analysts is off.

“We have to thin the staff out and make sure there are minimal numbers at the training ground without being to the detriment of performance.”

Warburton insists there was no way he could have fielded a team to face Sheffield United and Swansea with so many players unavailable – and hit back at claims teams who are affected should turn to their academy players.

“The simple fact is we have trained with seven or eight players for the last few days,” Warburton said.

“We could not have fielded a team. There was no option – that was all we had. It was only yesterday (Wednesday) that we welcomed everyone back and many of those needed a ball familiarisation session.

“I keep hearing this ‘throw the kids in’ line and I heard a former coach say it the other day and I want to rip through the radio and have a word.

“My background is youth, I have been an academy director, setting up a European tournament, but they have got to be good enough,

“At the end of the season, the table doesn’t say Club A finished 17th but they lost 10 players for five weeks. It just reads you finished 17th.

“Yes, young players need the opportunity, I am massively behind that, but they have to be good enough and ready for the exposure at this level.

“It drives me insane when I hear people say ‘throw them in’ like it’s park football.

“You can’t throw in statements like that. It’s far too important and there are far too many implications in the game.”