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Sheffield Wednesday hoping to reopen training ground next week

Sheffield Wednesday v Derby County – Sky Bet Championship – Hillsborough
(Image credit: Richard Sellers)

Sheffield Wednesday caretaker boss Neil Thompson is hopeful the club will be able to open their training ground on Wednesday after a coronavirus outbreak forced their Middlewood Road base to be shut.

The Owls reported a “significant number” of club personnel returned positive results for Covid-19 earlier this week which put Saturday’s FA Cup tie with Exeter in doubt.

With Thompson and his temporary assistants Lee Bullen and Steven Haslam in self isolation, Wednesday will be managed by academy coach Andy Holdsworth at St James Park to ensure the third round fixture takes place.

The club’s next Sky Bet Championship fixture is away to Coventry on January 16 and the 57-year-old is hopeful it will go ahead.

“I feel now as though I’m coming through a bad cold in the winter and as far as I’m aware, nobody at the club is suffering too much with symptoms,” Thompson told a virtual press conference on Friday.

“We’re hopeful of getting the training ground open on the 13th to prepare for the Coventry game.”

Sheffield Wednesday’s players have had to prepare for the clash with Exeter at home, but Thompson praised their professionalism.

He added: “The players have shown so much character. This is another big hurdle for the boys to overcome.

“Sometimes you can find these moments galvanise everyone. The lads will be tested again this morning and the trip will be as safe as possible.”

Ex-Huddersfield ace Holdsworth will be in charge of the Championship strugglers, who have won both of their games since Tony Pulis was sacked last month.

“I’m really disappointed not to be in the dugout this weekend, very frustrating but the safety and health of everybody at the club is the main priority and making sure everyone is safe is the most important thing,” Thompson insisted.

“Andy Holdsworth is a very good coach, a good lad and has very good football people around him.

“We have formulated a plan, the framework is there, we’ve had productive zoom calls and you now have to give people trust. That’s how they go on and grow.

“The staff who are going down there have more than enough experience to lead the team. We have to try and keep our run going, keep a calm mind and be fully focused.”