Paul Robinson: Stay strong West Brom
Former defender Paul Robinson has told Albion’s players they must remain mentally strong during the coronavirus pandemic.
With the country continuing to be on lockdown, each member of the Baggies squad is working from home in a bid to slow the spread of Covid-19 and ease the pressure on the NHS, writes Bradley Rice.
Robinson, though, believes training is much harder when you don’t have your team mates and coaches at your side giving you a push.
And with Albion sitting second in the Championship and in with a great chance of winning promotion, he says it’s vital each member of the squad continues to work hard and stay focused.
“It’s tough for everyone, having to stay in, look at four walls, but you’ve got to have that positive mindset and it’s no different for players,” Robinson said.
“You’re always programmed to do your job and it’s the same for footballers. But with that strict regime gone, the important thing is to remain positive.
“Players will have fitness programs but it’s going to be tough and they’ll have to adapt.
“Players will be missing out on the intensity of training sessions and that element of competition which they just aren’t going to get during this time.”
In football’s absence, Robinson believes one of the biggest challenges will be to replace the matchday experience and the euphoria players feel when running out onto the pitch.
“There is no doubt players will be missing that buzz, running out in front of the fans, the competitive edge week in week out,” he said.
“Especially as they know it’s the middle of the season, when there is still a lot to play for, promotion, the title.
“And the question is how do you occupy yourself? Especially on a weekend, for that 90 minutes when you haven’t got a game but you know you should be playing.
“It’s not just players who have to recreate that positive feeling though, think of the fans. The anticipation before a game on a Saturday at three or on a Tuesday night.
“Everyone has to look at it as if it were offseason, where there is a six to eight-week break away from football.”
Looking forward, Robinson doubts teams will be returning to action anytime soon, but he insists remaining fixtures have to be fulfilled, even if they take place behind closed doors.
“The toughest thing is the time frame of fitness because the players are going to have to do another pre-season,” he added.
“You can’t expect them to get back to playing straight away. Players won’t be up to speed, strength and conditioning wise, they won’t be match ready.
“But the season has to finish it’s as simple as that. For teams like Baggies fighting for promotion there is too much to play for, you can’t just void it.
“Even if games have to be played behind closed doors and the games televised, which will no doubt be the case when the season resumes.
“You’ll have people saying it’s not the same without the fans. But it’s still the game of football, players will still compete, it’s still a league match.
“When we start up again that is how it will be I’m afraid. I don’t see any other option.”