Harry Souttar in a hurry to get up to speed for play-offs with Fleetwood Town

Harry Souttar scores Fleetwood's last goal before lockdown in the draw at PortsmouthHarry Souttar scores Fleetwood's last goal before lockdown in the draw at Portsmouth
Harry Souttar scores Fleetwood's last goal before lockdown in the draw at Portsmouth
Harry Souttar admits it will take a couple of weeks of training to get Fleetwood players “up to speed” for a return to action in the play-offs, though the defender hopes that Town’s camaraderie will return very quickly.
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Joey Barton’s squad returned to training at Poolfoot Farm last week as they prepare for next month’s semi-finals against Wycombe Wanderers and the centre-half says the players were delighted to be reunited after close to three months away from the club.

The 21-year-old from Stoke City, who is among the Fleetwood loanees permitted to remain with the club for the play-offs, told the Town website: “The lockdown dragged on a wee bit but it’s great to see the lads and get this base of work in.

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“It will take a couple of weeks to get up to speed and where we were.

“You can’t get match fitness without playing games, so I think there will be a few training games to get us up to speed.”

Town have lost only one League One game in 2020 and were unbeaten in 12 before fixtures were cancelled, and Souttar believes their special team “bond” played a part.

The Australia international added: “I think everyone has missed each other. Before everything got cancelled and we went into lockdown we were on a great run.

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“Everyone enjoyed coming into training and it was not just work – it was a bond and hopefully we’ll get that back soon enough.”

And he gave an insight into just how players had managed during lockdown, adding: “I coped with it OK. You just have to be there for your friends and family because you don’t know what people are going through outside your household and friendship group. I kept myself to myself and that’s all you can really do.

“The players had a group chat on WhatsApp and it’s nice everyone kept in touch. Everyone is kind of all together in what we are trying to do.”

And training has become a little different, with coronavirus testing, temperatures taken, a questionnaire to fill in, regular hand-washing and the changing rooms officially out of bounds.

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Souttar said: “You had to put your boots and trainers outside because you are not allowed in the changing rooms, so the lads wanted to stay out as long as they can. Then it’s just a case of get your boots off ... and go home.

“Hopefully we are on the right side of it now and things can return to normal soon enough.”