Fulham boss Scott Parker has outlined his targets for the season while revealing his concerns.
The Championship restart has been pencilled in for June 20 and Parker’s side are set to be thrown in at the deep end with a west London derby against play-off rivals Brentford.
The former Chelsea and West Ham midfielder has now acknowledged why football will not be the same despite the return of fixtures, while admitting that the club’s three positive coronavirus tests are far from ideal.
The 39-year-old spoke on his way to Fulham’s Motspur Park training ground on Thursday, and has been honest on why he is feeling apprehensive ahead of the final stage of the season.
“It’s a breath of fresh air being on the training ground, but it’s very different of course,” he said in a conversation with talkSPORT’s Jim White on Thursday.
Before adding: “We have only been in contact for two days, we went into contact on Tuesday and there was no hiding from the fact that we picked up three positive tests over the time that we have been back.
“Of course there have been concerns, little concerns, and there has been concerns in players that have been well documented.
“But from my point of view the players have been superb, they have been very engaged even though there is big protocols in place, even though we are now in contact training.”
Fulham sit third in the table after 37 fixtures and six points behind second-placed Leeds United, and Parker is confident that his players are in the right frame of mind to return to action.
He said: “I don’t think many things will be ideal, you’re playing nine games, playing every three days and there is loads of things we can discuss for hours and everyone has an opinion but nothing is going to be ideal.
“Ultimately we are going to play, that’s the situation we’re in and I think it is key that we prepare the best we can, we get the players in the best shape we can.”
Parker took over at Fulham during their dismal Premier League season last time out, but has turned their fortunes around in the second-tier thanks in part to the goals of Aleksandar Mitrovic.
The former England international said when asked about his side’s chances of bouncing back to the top flight: “When we do kick off here we need to be in the best place we can possible be and I’m sure we will be.
“We need to fight and we need to challenge, we need to understand that three quarters of this season were done under normal circumstances and we put ourselves in a fantastic position as a club.
“There is a different challenge ahead of us now that is unique and hasn’t been seen before, but it’s a challenge that we need to embrace.”
Before adding: “At the end of it we will see where we are, hopefully we are successful and then we will go from there.”