Paul Tisdale says football needs to make ‘sensible decision’ regarding Covid


Stevenage boss Paul Tisdale believes the EFL will come to a “sensible decision based on facts” regarding the fresh Covid outbreak as his side lost 1-0 at Salford in one of only four League Two games to take place on Saturday.

Tisdale gave a debut to 17-year-old Owen Cochrane whom he only met on the team bus on the way to the game, as Covid cases soar throughout the UK.

Salford defender Jordan Turnbull headed the game’s only goal as struggling Stevenage were kept out despite an encouraging performance.

“We started the week with a full bill of health, then got hit with logistics and scheduling to get to this point ready to play,” said Tisdale.

“I’m not sure when the rest of the squad met Owen, I met him yesterday afternoon on the way up on the M6. He did extremely well.

“The landscape (with Covid) has changed hugely in the past 10 days. We need to make a sensible decision. There comes a tipping point where you have a clean week or two to get through it maybe. But the Christmas and New Year period is the best time for professional football.

“I’ll go with whatever happens. That’s not me passing the buck, I’ve been in this job a week or two and my head is spinning with decisions. I think we will make a sensible decision as an industry in the next couple of days based on all the facts.”

The defeat leaves Stevenage just above the bottom two but Tisdale sees reason for optimism in his new job.

“I’m absolutely devastated we got nothing from it because I saw an energised and competitive side. I actually feel incredibly cross as I think we could have got something from it.

“We played right to the end, gave them nothing, kept it at 1-0 and kept going forward so I feel motivated by what the players have done together it gives me a lot of heart but I still feel gutted.

Gary Bowyer saw his Salford side win for the first time since November, and backed Tisdale’s stance on playing through the pandemic.

“We will just do as we are told, that is my view,” he said.

“I hear one or two other managers giving their own personal opinion which they are entitled to do, but it really is irrelevant as the powers that be will make that decision and we have to follow that decision. If they say we can’t play, guess what, we can’t play. If they say we carry on, we carry on, it’s as simple as that.

“Players up and down the country it’s their own personal choices (on vaccinations) and you have to respect that.

“We have got one or two missing, and only six subs, so obviously it (Covid) is something that is happening up and down the country.

“We finished training yesterday and saw the games start getting called off so you are always wary that either we could have more outbreaks or Stevenage could themselves.

“I think it is credit to both clubs to get the game on. What will happen next is out of our control, we will be governed by the EFL and follow protocol as instructed.

“But we are delighted with the win and delighted with the clean sheet. We could have scored more though with better decisions.

“The two centre-halves were magnificent and they have done really well for us all season. For Jordan to get the goal is an added bonus. The pair of them on the ball were very good, it is a solid enough partnership.”

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