Newcastle manager Steve Bruce has warned players will not be fit enough to resume the Premier League season until the end of June.
Bruce has joined Watford counterpart Nigel Pearson in voicing concerns about Project Restart and a targeted return date in mid-June, ahead of Monday’s expected vote on a return to training in small groups with social distancing.
UEFA are hopeful major European league can finish by the end of July but should the Premier League not resume until late June it would be difficult to complete the remaining 92 league games in time.
“We’ve listened to what has been said and, with the precautions taken, we will get back to work and start phase one,” Bruce told The Telegraph.
“Can we get to that stage where we can have all the players on the pitch together? We don’t know yet.
“Phase one will be mainly fitness work, four or five players on a pitch. Let’s see how we get on [and hope there are no infections].”
The Premier League has been suspended since March 13 due to the coronavirus pandemic and Bruce says there are widespread concerns from managers over how quickly players are expected to find recover full fitness.
“We need enough preparation time to get these players into shape or they are just going to fall down like a pack of cards.
“Most of the managers have the same concerns. We would need at least six weeks. I don’t see how we can play games until the back end of June.”