Lee Johnson’s ‘dramatic’ Championship plan would allow Stoke City to survive


Bristol City boss Lee Johnson believes that a tournament-type schedule is the best resolution for the Championship season.

All elite football in the UK has been suspended, as the country attempts to come to terms with the COVID-19 outbreak.

Resumption dates have already been moved back from the end of April, with the season now extended indefinitely.

The EFL and Premier League have both reaffirmed their commitment to completing the season, but there is a genuine fear that fixtures may not be fulfilled.

Goalkeepers: Jack Butland, Adam Davies, Adam Federici.

Defenders: Danny Batth, Moritz Bauer**, James Chester*, Nathan Collins, Tom Edwards, Liam Lindsay, Bruno Martins Indi, Ryan Shawcross, Tommy Smith, Harry Souttar**, Josh Tymon, Stephen Ward, Kevin Wimmer**.

Midfielders: Joe Allen, Sam Clucas, Jordan Cousins, Peter Etebo**, James McClean, Badou Ndiaye**, Nick Powell, Ollie Shenton**, Lasse Sorensen, Ryan Woods**.

Forwards: Benik Afobe**, Tyrese Campbell, Mame Diouf, Lee Gregory, Tom Ince, Julien Ngoy, Thibaud Verlinden, Sam Vokes.

*on loan

**out on loan

Teams like Stoke City, who are hovering above the relegation zone in the Championship but who have seen a steady rise in results since Michael O’Neill’s arrival, would be permitted the opportunity to secure their second tier status.

Promotions in non-league have been cancelled, but Johnson, whose side are just outside the play-off places, has proposed a dramatic plan to complete the season.

“If the country is not ready to mix and football is allowed to go ahead, maybe we take over a hotel for a month and we train there,” Johnson told BBC Radio Five Live.

“It could be a tournament-type mentality. It will be dramatic, that’s for sure.

“The players have had an extended period on a very strict fitness regime, running on their own, and that’s very difficult to maintain when there’s no light at the end of the tunnel.

“The minute we can get some concrete timings on a return it will be easy for us to plan.


“It won’t be a huge problem, the boys will be rested and physically these players are fine.

“When we have defined details we have been promised at least a three-week pre-season period and the players will need that.”

A leaked letter from EFL boss Rick Parry suggested players will return no earlier than May 16, with a 56 day schedule in place to complete the season.





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