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Health trumps need for league, says Windsor FC boss Cooper

Windsor boss Mark Cooper has said the health of the nation is of paramount importance, but added that if non-league clubs aren’t back playing competitive football by March 1 he thinks it’s very unlikely they’ll be able to complete their campaigns in full or on time.

Windsor have seen their Hellenic Premier Division season paused on two occasions now, with all football activity outside of the elite game suspended until further notice due to a third national lockdown.

Cooper hopes they’ll be able to get back to action next month, or by March at the latest, and says league bosses may have to come up with some creative solutions if they're to finish off campaigns satisfactorily.

However, he adds that everyone is in danger of losing sight of the fact we’re living through a global pandemic, where football – for the time being at least – has to take a back seat in people’s priorities.

“It looks like if we’re not back playing league football by March 1 then we won’t be able to complete the season,” he said.

“I think the FA has extended the possibility of playing the league up until the end of May.

“You’ve got March/April\May to play the best part of 30 games.

“That’s only three months. We’ll be pushed anyway and that’s without further games being called off for COVID or anything else.”

Cooper believes clubs and players will need to be patient, and work quickly with the cards they’re dealt this season.

If they can get back to league action and complete the season, he’ll be delighted, but he’s learned not to predict anything this year.

Cooper – who suffered with COVID-19 earlier this season – doesn’t really believe the Hellenic League can come up with a satisfactory solution for all clubs this season, but he says the main thing will be everyone getting through these next few months with their health intact

“The picture doesn’t look that positive at the moment, but I’ve learned not to try and predict anything,” he said.

“The best thing for us to do is move quickly with the framework that’s given to you.

“As things stand the situation doesn’t look pretty, and things appear to be deteriorating rather than improving.

“But, as we’ve seen all along, things change pretty quickly. We will have to wait and see.”

He added: “You can only wonder at the different options that have been discussed for completing the season.

“I think they’re quite keen to stick to the script of completing the season, but inevitably they will need to look at different ways to finish the season.

“Is it fair for there to be promotion and relegation when you’ve only played everyone once? Who’s to say.

“I don’t think there’s a satisfactory one size fits all approach. We’ll just have to see what plays out. We’re just more than happy that we haven’t had anyone at the club suffer severely through hospitalisation or worse.

“That’s the main thing and we need to bear that in mind.

“We’re living through a pandemic. It’s just about getting everyone through this. It will come to an end and if people have their health on the other side that’s of paramount importance.

“We’re all guilty of losing sight of that at times I think.”

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