Harry Souttar has returned to training – with a lot of added hair – as he prepares to resume a promotion chase one way or another with Fleetwood Town.
The 21-year-old has proven himself to be one of the best defenders in League One during a season on loan from Stoke City and had been a key figure alongside Glenn Whelan as they challenged at the top of the table.
They were one of the divisions most in-form sides when play stopped in March, sitting fifth having only lost once since early December. Whelan, in fact, has never lost since he joined the club in January.
But decisions are still to be made about what to do with the rest of 2019/20 in the third tier.
An EFL board meeting on Tuesday will be followed by a vote and the season could be curtailed, with positions decided on a points per game basis. Some clubs are fighting to return to play remaining fixtures behind closed doors.
The more likely scenario is for Fleetwood to head straight into the play-offs, where they would take on Wycombe Wanderers in a two-legged semi-final.
So they were back making preparations today.
“It’ll take a couple of weeks to get up to speed and get up to where we were,” said Souttar in an interview for the Fleetwood website.
“You can’t get any match fitness without playing games so there’ll be a few training games.
“It’s a waiting game now (for the vote) but whatever happens we’ll be back playing football.
“We’ll either have our remaining nine games or the play-offs so we’ve got to be as best prepared as we can.”
Souttar hasn’t played since scoring in a 2-2 draw at Portsmouth back on March 10.
So it was little wonder he was pleased to get his boots back on.
“It’s good to be back and see all the boys,” he said.
“The lockdown has kind of dragged on a little bit, but it is great to see some the lads and get this base work in before, hopefully, two play-off games.
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“I think everyone’s missed each other. Before everything got cancelled, and we went into lockdown, we were on a great run and had great camaraderie.
“I really enjoyed going to training, it wasn’t just work, it was a bond.”