Hearts manager Daniel Stendel speaks with players about when training will restart
German doesn’t expect matches to be played soon
Hearts manager Daniel Stendel admits players are asking him when training might resume at Riccarton - but he can't provide any answers.
With Scottish football to remain in shutdown until at least June 10 due to coronavirus, players at every club are left in limbo.
The Hearts squad are following fitness plans alone at home but proper training has not taken place since football was indefinitely suspended on March 13.
Stendel remains at home with his family in Germany awaiting an indication that he can return to Edinburgh. He does not expect that to happen any time soon.
"The players are the same. The players are also asking what is happening," he told the Evening News. "They still have training plans but they don't really know when they will start again. When you train every day, running alone, it is difficult.
"The SPFL say you cannot start training before June 10, then there is the question of needing to train for some weeks alone. Do you need a little pre-season? I don't know. The feeling from Scotland is that we will not play again quickly."
Scotland's First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, stated on Thursday that major events such as football would be "off for some months to come" to avoid the disease spreading further.
That effectively extinguished hope of finishing the remaining eight matches of this season, and even the 2020/21 campaign could also be delayed to some extent.
Stendel remains in contact with his squad, largely through captain Steven Naismith, helping him to monitor from afar whilst working from home.
The wait for football to resume could possibly go on for months and Stendel admitted he would like a definitive timescale like everyone else.
Hearts must also wait to learn their fate regarding which league they will play in next season. The Scottish Professional Football League are presently discussing options for ending this season prematurely, which would consign the Edinburgh club to relegation as the Ladbrokes Premiership's bottom club.
Stendel's future at Tynecastle hinges on the outcome since his contract is only valid for top-flight football. He would be able to leave for free in the event of relegation.
However, league reconstruction would spare Hearts the drop. Club owner Ann Budge and Hamilton vice-chair Les Gray are leading a task force examining if and how leagues might be expanded.
In the meantime, Stendel is planning with the hope that he can return to the Capital and continue working at the club he joined last December.
"We are still in touch with everybody but you cannot call 25 players every two days," the German explained. "You can ask the players if they are all okay and if their families are okay, but there is not much news.
"I call Steven Naismith, he has contact with a lot of the players. I speak to him about what we can do with training and maybe being a bit more relaxed. Nothing will be starting in the next two weeks so sometimes it is maybe good when you have a short break.
"We talk about what is happening in Scotland, when was the last [UEFA] meeting and when is the next meeting, plus what is the feeling so that I get some information on the squad. There is not really much news coming so we are still waiting."
- Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you. In order for us to continue to provide high quality and trusted local news on this free-to-read site, I am asking you to also please purchase a copy of our newspaper. Our journalists are highly-trained and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the most rigorous standards in the world. But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. So we need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis. With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our local valued advertisers - and consequently the advertising that we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you helping us to provide you with news and information by buying a copy of our newspaper. Thank you. Joy Yates, Editorial Director.