'I don’t see how the season can finish' – Hartlepool United manager Dave Challinor expresses concerns over National League season following coronavirus postponement at Barnet
Hartlepool United manager has slammed the lack of coronavirus transparency between clubs after Saturday’s match at Barnet was postponed.
A Barnet player tested positive for coronavirus on Friday and at 11.15pm that night it was confirmed that the tie set to take place at The Hive would have to be rearranged for a later date.
While Challinor recognised the ‘difficult situation’ clubs are being put in as a result of the pandemic, he was critical of Barnet’s handling of the case which meant he didn’t find out there was any concern until late on the eve of the game, after the team had already travelled down.
“We got a phone call at quarter to 10 to say the league had been informed that one of the Barnet players had tested positive and there were early indications that the game would be called off,” he told The Mail.
“That’s as much as we knew about it, we weren’t informed to anything prior to the phone call at quarter to 10.
"The player would have been tested on Wednesday so the fact we weren’t informed of anything like that was disappointing and to get the news the way we did came as a surprise and was obviously very frustrating.
“It’s a difficult situation, don’t get me wrong but there’s no transparency over what goes on.”
The postponement was put under greater scrutiny when National League side Notts County confirmed their game against Maidenhead United would go ahead as planned despite four of their players testing positive.
And the lack of consistency across the division has Challinor concerned over the future of the current campaign.
“Notts County have had four cases at least but have made a decision to play but they could have got it called off if they wanted,” Challinor explained.
“Unfortunately, you’ll get circumstances where there’s going to be self-interest involved. If you want a game called off, you’ll get the game called off, simple as that.
"It will be interesting to see the other aspect of the situation in terms of our own circumstances and how it happens. How many players you have to have with confirmed cases before you have to call a game off?
"We had [Luke Molyneux] missing for our first three games through the virus so we could have got our first three games called off and been unbelievable cautious in that case.
"If that continues to be the case, I don’t see how the season can finish because the season is already loaded towards the end of the season with games scheduled in April and May.
"If things like this continue to happen with games getting called off and if we get a bad winter, then towards the back end of the season. I imagine it will be decided will be based around which teams have the more favourable games left.
"I envisage some clubs will have to play Saturday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday toward the back end of the season in order to finish their games.”