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Mark Bonner wants Cambridge United to continue playing as long as it is safe to do so amid talk of EFL circuit break




Cambridge United head coach Mark Bonner. Picture: Simon Lankester
Cambridge United head coach Mark Bonner. Picture: Simon Lankester

Mark Bonner will take the lead of the experts when it comes to talk of the EFL having a ‘circuit break’ to halt the spread of the coronavirus in football.

Some figures in the game have called for games to be stopped to stem the spread of the virus - seven of the 12 matches in League One on Tuesday night were called off because of players or staff testing positive for Covid-19 and others having to self-isolate.

Concerns have been heightened with no regular testing in the lower leagues.

But the Cambridge United head coach is not adding to the voices calling for the campaign to be paused, preferring to be guided by those who know best and placing the safety of staff and players as paramount importance.

“I’m not a scientist, so I don’t know the benefit that [a circuit break] will have,” said Bonner.

“In my eyes, if we stop for 10 days what’s different, why would it change and why would you come back?

“I’m not certain. The people that are speaking into this are obviously more intelligent than I am so they will have a better opinion on all of that.

“From our perspective, we want to keep playing as long as it’s safe for the players and staff to be in work. If it gets to a tipping point where it isn’t, then we are no different to anybody else - we shouldn’t be.

“But at the same time, the constraints are there for the season ahead and we’ve got the bad weather to come yet that is going to cancel games.

“League One had a lot of games off because of Covid on Tuesday, but League Two had four off, one for snow, one for a waterlogged pitch, one abandoned for bad weather during the game and the Covid one with Morecambe.

“There is a little bit going on in our league.”

Unlike the Premier League, the EFL does not test players regularly.

It is estimated that the cost of twice-weekly testing would be approximately £10,000 per week for each club.

But a round of testing across all EFL clubs will be held next week, ahead of the third round of the FA Cup.

Bonner said: “There is mandatory testing next week for the whole of the EFL, and it will be interesting to see the outcome of that.

“If there is a huge spike in asymptomatic positive tests, then I guess that will be dealt with at the time.

“From our perspective, we have to continue doing as much as we can to avoid the issue, but knowing that we’re now in an area, probably for the first time, that is seeing a real rise in infection rates.

“That may have an impact on things, but ultimately you can’t think too much into that from our side.”

He added: “We’ve just got to get on with our job which is to get ready for the next game, and wait to be told if anything is going to stop.

“We haven’t heard any rumours or thoughts that is going to happen, it’s just a few people with an opinion that have said that. I’m sure there are plenty of other people that say crack on.”

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