On their marks – Stoke City squad get ready to return



Stoke City will try to bring some semblance of normality back to life at the club tomorrow morning.

That’s when Stoke manager Michael O’Neill and his senior squad are due back to resume training.

O’Neill gave his players several days off in the wake of Saturday’s trip to Reading being called off last Friday.

But he remains keen to keep his players on their toes, as best he can, while football steps into the unknown along with the rest of society.

The club is operating stringent measures at its Clayton Wood training complex to minimise the danger of the coronavirus infiltrating the Stoke dressing room.

Cleanliness is top of the agenda, according to sources, while all visitors are being even more tightly monitored than usual.

The club has long since implemented a policy of no public appearances and no selfies/autographs.

O’Neill, meanwhile, is desperate to maintain a fighting edge among his players and to keep their fitness topped up.

But with no date for a competitive comeback to work towards, he and his coaching staff are going to have to become increasingly inventive to keep their players motivated.

One option, when a date is known, is to arrange behind-closed-doors friendlies with nearby clubs.

But that prospect, right now, appears to be an awful long way off.





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