Burnley will be ready to go, insists striker Ashley Barnes

Ashley Barnes believes Burnley will be bang at it come the resumption of the Premier League.

By Chris Boden
Saturday, 13th June 2020, 12:30 pm
Ashley Barnes
Ashley Barnes

While the remainder of the campaign will be played out behind closed doors, without supporters - with clubs pondering whether to use crowd noise or not, or cardboard cut outs of fans - games will take place in unusual circumstances.

But Clarets striker Barnes feels boss Sean Dyche will have his players mentally and physically prepared.

Dyche has often spoken of training as you play, "going hard" in training and transferring that to games, and Barnes expects that to continue, once Burnley kick-start their season at Manchester City on Monday, June 22nd.

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Barnes has looked at the Bundesliga in Germany for how they have adapted, and he said: "I've seen bits of it, it's just brilliant to see football back.

"Regarding no fans, that's just the situation we're in at the moment, but it is nice to get it back on, and just do what you love doing, playing football with your mates.

"It depends on how each club feel (with or without crowd noise), for me, as soon as we get on the pitch, it's no different to being in training - there's no noise, so the fans make it even more special, and can be behind you in difficult times, but it's one of those things.

"Hopefully they'll be allowed back into grounds soon.

"There's all different scenarios clubs will use, some will play music or sound effects of whatever, just to generate a normal feeling.

"It will be difficult, will it be a little bit slower? It might not have that full match tempo without the crowd behind you, but there's still points to play for, people fighting to stay in the league and all different things, so come matchday, you've got to be right, and we prepare ourselves right in training and work so hard to make it just an easy flow."

Clubs will also be able to use five substitutes from a bench of nine, to help ease any potential injuries suffered by the quicker turnaround of games, and Barnes added: "You've got all these different problems, five subs could change it for the bigger clubs with nine on the bench.

"There are more chances for everyone to be involved and more of a chance to help the team, with injuries, fitness.

"There will be more niggles, but that's part and parcel of football.

"I think everyone would say they want the games, with the quick turnaround."

Barnes won't be fit for the game at the Etihad Stadium after suffering a couple of niggles after undergoing a double hernia operation earlier this year.

But he has been back at the Barnfield Training Centre, and explained how life has changed there: "It has been strange in all circumstances.

"We all get checks when we turn up, temperature first, then you drive to your own designated pods.

"We hung on until we could return to training in small groups, albeit social distancing.

"I didn't see most of the lads until stage two, where they started contact.

"Now I'm seeing more of the lads, but socially distanced.

"We were quite lucky as a group, we'd done quite a lot of Zoom chats, had a month to ourselves, and had open chats about how we all felt, and everyone was just raring to get back, albeit being safe.

"There were a few questions about how testing would work, how it would plan out, but we were all raring to go, to finish the season."

Ian Woan tested positive for coronavirus in the first round of tests, despite being asymptomatic, but Barnes thinks training grounds are one of the safest environments to be in: "(Ian Woan) said he had no symptoms, it was a strange one.

"But everyone feels the clubs are the safest place for the lads, some didn't go back at other clubs, and you have your own reasons, but lucky enough, everyone was fine here and raring to go.

"Everyone will respect everyone's decision, but here we were all on board really.

"It is the safest place, you're getting tested twice a week, you could just go on a walk with your family, or the supermarket to pick up some food and youn could catch it from someone, so it is a strange time for everyone, but hopefully we will soon be back to normal."