JOHNSTONE Burgh manager Jamie McKim is urging league chiefs to make sure players have enough time to prepare for the 2020/21 season.

A start date of either the last Saturday in September or the first Saturday in October has been pencilled in by bosses at the new West of Scotland League, with clubs able to resume training from next month.

McKim is among those looking forward to a return to action as the coronavirus restrictions are eased – but he fears players could end up crocked if they are thrown back into competitive matches without first completing an extended pre-season. 

He has pointed to the English Premier League as an example, with a number of players who were sidelined by the Covid-19 pandemic picking up injuries after being allowed to pull their boots on again.

McKim told Gazette Sport: “If it’s going to be September or October then we really need to start training early in August.

“Normally, you would maybe get a three or four-week rest and then go back in with a five or six-week pre-season but the guys have all had four months off now, so they’re going to need more than those five or six weeks. They will maybe need seven or eight.

“You can see it in the English Premier League – the amount of injuries and boys going down with cramp is scary.”

With this in mind, McKim has urged his players to make sure they are staying in shape while football remains off limits.

He said: “We had a Zoom call with the players a couple of weeks ago and that’s something that we’re really pressing home with them – that they’ve got to take responsibility for their own fitness levels over the next few weeks.

“They need to make sure that, when we do get back, they are at a good level to kick on and ready to go again.”

Meanwhile, the Keanie Park club have announced the signing of Ross Geddes, who returns after a spell in Australia.

McKim previously signed the defender in his first full season in charge, with Geddes going on to score nine goals during the 2019/20 campaign.

A club spokesperson said: “Ross was a force in both boxes before he left. We are hoping he can continue where he left off.”

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