Nigel Pearson dismisses calls for Championship fixtures to be cancelled amidst rise in COVID cases

The Robins boss says that the club have a good vaccination programme in place to protect against Coronavirus

<p>Bristol City head coach Nigel Pearson had two bouts of COVID-19. (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images)</p>

Bristol City head coach Nigel Pearson had two bouts of COVID-19. (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images)

Bristol City head coach Nigel Pearson has praised the club for how they have conducted themselves to combat COVID-19.

The Omicron variant has taken hold in England and a number of Premier League matches have been called off at short notice.

To combat coronavirus, the general public have been advised to get vaccinated, with booster jabs now available.

City boss Pearson has put praise on to his employers for how they have tried to protect themselves against the virus.

He said: “I worry for people's health, first and foremost. Sport is a part of our community, a very important part of the social aspects, so just if you look at us as an operation, we have an exceptionally high percentage of double vaccinations in the workforce; players and staff alike.

“We'll also be encouraging people to have the booster. Just in terms of how we operate here, we're doing everything we can to make the workplace as safe as possible.”

Whether City’s games go ahead however could be out of their hands with some teams with minimal cases, whilst others have been ravaged.

City’s match with Huddersfield is one of only four Championship games scheduled to go ahead this weekend.

In the division above, Brentford manager Thomas Frank, who will be without up to 13 players this weekend, has called for the league to be paused.

This is not something that Pearson is in agreement with however and believes fixtures should continue to be played.

“I don’t think the league should pause it, what should have happened by now is that clubs should have been more proactive in getting their players and staff vaccinated,”

“There is probably a correlation between clubs who are missing players with a lot of cases and their vaccination programme.

“Maybe the league should have done something about that earlier themselves rather than being reactive.

“I don’t see the point in the leagues being reactive. They should be on the front foot in driving programmes to get protection to work in the industry, so the industry can keep going, so the public can see the games.”

As well as the talk of games being postponed, earlier this week both Patrick Viera and Steven Gerrard spoke of how vaccination status may affect their transfer business in the January transfer window.

Any new players who weren't as protected would have to isolate for ten days and face stringent rules such as returning from red-listed countries.

In a short answer to a question from BristolWorld though, the 58-year-old said: "I think Financial Fair Play has got more to do with what we do. No. You’re talking about different levels of operation there."

The Robins boss himself has suffered with two bouts of COVID, once at Watford and then earlier on in the season in September, where he missed three matches due to isolation.

A further break from his coaching duties then came as he missed the defeat to Coventry City with Curtis Fleming deputising in his place.

Given the affects he suffered from, he has urged those to get protected by the virus if they haven't done so already.

"The problem is there are still a lot of question marks as to where this end will end up. I can't speak as a medical person but having suffered with Covid twice myself and knowing the impact it can have on your health, it's something to guard against, there's no doubt about that.

"And we also want to have people available to play so it's in our interest to get our playing squad having the protection to keep them fit and healthy."