Joe Worrall: Nottingham Forest defender says it would be unfair if season cancelled

Joe Worrall
Joe Worrall has made 39 appearances for Nottingham Forest this season

Nottingham Forest defender Joe Worrall says completing the Championship season is "non-negotiable".

Elite football in England has been suspended indefinitely as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, with no date set for a resumption.

Forest, a club looking to end a 21-year absence from the Premier League, are currently fifth in the second tier.

"It's non-negotiable, they can't null and void the season." Worrall, 23, told BBC Radio Nottingham.

"We are in the play-off spots and doing so well, for goodness sake."

In an open letter published on Friday, after Worrall spoke to BBC Radio Nottingham's Forest podcast, English Football League chairman Rick Parry said "delivering a successful conclusion to the 2019-20 season remains our goal to ensure the integrity of our competitions".

Parry added that matches were likely to be played without crowds when football is safe to resume.

Elite football was first paused on 13 March and, while the Football Association has allowed an indefinite timeframe for the season to be finished, how or when they might happen remains uncertain.

With nine regular season games remaining, Forest are fifth in the table and five points ahead of Bristol City, who are seventh and just outside the play-off spots.

"We are probably not going up as first or second," said Worrall of Forest's prospect of closing the 10-point gap to the automatic promotion places. "But we can finish in the play-offs.

"Really it doesn't matter where you are in the league because there are personal accolades for people to play for as well.

"Governing bodies need to think of a way to complete it because frankly it wouldn't be fair."

Worrall also welcomes the prospect of recommencing the season behind closed doors if that was a safety requirement, although he admits it would be "strange" for many reasons - especially if they made it to Wembley for the play-off final.

"Imagine Wembley with its 88,000 seats and no-one sitting in them for a game like that," he said.

"It would be so strange knowing that you would be playing for a spot in the Premier League - playing against the likes of Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United, Manchester City - and you are playing in front of no fans.

"With no fans, no buzz around the stadium, it will play a big part in some games and some results playing behind closed doors."

Worrall, who signed a two-year contract extension to keep him at the City Ground until 2024 in February, said it would take a pre-season style "fitness camp" to get players back up to speed after the lockdown.

"When you come back from the summer break the first time you kick a ball you feel like a bag of spanners because you are just not up to tempo," he said.

"You just can't replicate that day in, day out training in the summer, which is what it's going to be like now.

"As professional athletes we are staying fit and are striving and thinking that the season will be finished. We are all in a positive mindset.

"It's our job at the moment to stay concentrated, mentally as much as physically, for when that happens."

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