Ballinamallard manager Harry McConkey stresses that they will be strictly following guidelines when they return to non contact small group training.

An updated IFA guideline released last weekend allows teams to return to training but this is only for small groups of six or less and social distancing must be maintained with no close contact allowed during the sessions.

“There is no doubt that we have a lot of young players who are very keen to be organised and feel safe but also want to get out in the fresh air and see each other again,” said McConkey.

“The important thing for me is that we have to take every piece of protocol and totally respect that. When we do that, that gives the players and staff a level of security to not feel so anxious. This is strictly non contact and strictly social distancing and all those things can be put in place.

“We have to have our sanitising, we have to take temperatures and we have to have our risk assessments done, all those things have made training a very complex thing for the people who are setting it up and people should not underestimate that.

“But you are feeling that you are, in some ways, providing a service to allow people to return to something, in a phased and somewhat different manner, to do something they love and something mentally and physically that can give them a lift.”

And McConkey states that this is optional for players with no pressure to attend.

“When this all became clear the first thing we said that there was absolutely no pressure on anyone to attend and they should not feel that in any way.

“It is clearly a personal option and you have to meet all the criteria that’s laid down in regards to medical risk assessment and, as I said, we will be taking the temperature of people entering the training arena and until further notice that’s the way it has got to be.

“I think though people are just glad to have something organised in a strict manner like this and they can still get a ball back at their feet and wind in their hair alongside their mates,” explained the Ducks boss.

Following Tuesday night’s decision by NIFL to end the 2019/2020 season immediately, there is no games at present for the Ducks to look forward to but McConkey feels that it is still important to provide this opportunity for his players after a long lay off.

“Of course it would be an added incentive if you had a game to look forward to but the situation is that we feel after 12 or 13 weeks that the players themselves are so looking forward to just seeing each other again on the training pitch in a safe manner.We have to break the ice somewhere and at some stage and it is just doing it as sensibly and as safely as possible which is what we are doing,” he concluded.