Express & Star

West Brom hope to take next training step

Albion are hoping to get the green light to begin contact training early next week.

Slaven Bilic (AMA)

The move means the Baggies are edging ever closer to resuming their Championship season – with June 27 the likely date they will return to action and resume their push for the Premier League.

But like all clubs in the English Football League, their fate could still be decided in a ballot box.

Yesterday, the EFL confirmed it is willing to change its regulations so clubs can vote to decide whether or not to curtail the 2019/20 campaign following the coronavirus pandemic.

But before clubs can hold a ballot on whether or not to play on, they first have to vote to agree to the rule changes proposed by the governing body.

That vote to change the EFL’s regulations will take place on June 8 – with all 71 Football League clubs taking part.

And if passed, the Express & Star understands the vote to determine whether or not the Championship plays on will take place immediately after.

League One and League Two are expected to be curtailed and be determined with an unweighed points per game system.

The Championship, however, is expected to resume and play to a conclusion – with Albion anticipating they will receive confirmation from the EFL on Monday that they can enter ‘phase two’ of the return to training protocols.

For the past week, Baggies’ players have only been able to work in groups of four or five while social distancing – with sessions limited to 45 minutes.

By entering phase two, however, groups of up to 10 players can train at any point with no time restrictions in place.

But most significantly, the squad can also do some close-contact training.

It cannot be full contact but players could – for example – take part in a drill where they are allowed to press an opponent but not tackle him.

The EFL will make contact with all Championship clubs when they feel the time is right for them to enter ‘phase three’ of their return to training protocols – which allows full contact.

While the Premier League is set to stage a full-round of fixtures on the weekend of June 20, it is likely the Championship will resume a week later.

Top-flight sides returned to training earlier than those in the second tier – with players needing that extra time to work on their fitness and minimise their chances of picking up an injury.