WATFORD have seen their Project Restart plans turn into disarray as the club are now without SIX players at training.
Manager Nigel Pearson has revealed that a further two stars are staying away from the club as close friends or family members have tested positive for coronavirus.
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These are in addition to Adrian Mariappa who was the one player out of three club staff to test positive.
Troy Deeney and two team-mates are staying away from training due to health concerns.
Pearson said: “One tested positive, two more through being in contact with somebody else and the others because they decided not to come in. I don’t intend to reveal names, I don’t feel that’s appropriate.
“I don’t intend to give specific numbers, but we’ve had several players who have not been available for different reasons this week, but it is what it is. We can’t do much about that at the moment and hopefully that situation will change in time.
“The three people who were tested positive were all very surprised because they all looked very well.
“In addition to that we’ve had a couple more people who have to be in isolation because they’ve been in close contact with people who have tested positive, even though their own results came back negative. I think that shows the types of complications that we’ve got.”
The Premier League will tomorrow announce the results from the second round of testing while Watford are privately testing the families of players.
Pearson, whose squad could return to contact training on Wednesday, added: “I find it awkward to talk about football when we are in such a difficult situation nationwide, at the moment. It doesn’t seem particularly right to be talking too much about the football situation when we have got so many fatalities.
“Clearly as far as the players are concerned, the BAME situation is still something I feel the players don’t have enough assurances about.
“One of the other things, it is not just about the players, it is about their immediate families and wider families.
“When the lockdown goes into a more relaxed or a less stringent form we are hoping there won’t be a second spike and we are hoping that more people will be able to get back to some form of normality. It is whether we are in a position to do that.”
The Premier League could restart on June 19 – rather than the planned June 12 – but Pearson feels that is too much of a rush.
He said: “Is four weeks and three days enough? No – normally you would want six weeks. Players haven’t lost their general fitness, and their programmes have been gradually changed to meet individual needs or managing long term issues.
“Once we get back into training mode where it’s very dynamic and we are hitting higher intensity, players need time to adapt.”
Watford defender Christian Kabasele added: “I don’t have any information but I think we are not going to start June 12.
“The most obvious choice for me is the end of June. Like this you have at least four weeks to train with the team if it’s possible. We will see. For the moment it’s a big question mark on this.”
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