Barnsley’s Gerhard Struber is making the most of his family time back in Austria

FOR Barnsley head coach Gerhard Struber and his Austrian compatriots, the sight of his home country starting to get back to a semblance of normality provides a modicum of hope for all.

Gerhard Struber.

Lockdown has partially lifted in Austria, with thousands of shops having reopened as the Alpine nation aims to ease restrictions brought in to stem the spread of coronavirus.

Yet as far as Struber is concerned, life will only truly become regular and orderly again when he can get back to his day job in England, even if he has embraced the time he has been afforded with his loved ones back at his family home near Salzburg.

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Struber, who does not expect football to return until June at the earliest, said: “The only good thing in the coronavirus crisis is that I have family time and my hobby is to work in the garden and my forest and I can play football with my son.

“It is a special situation for me and my family and I will make the best of the situation. But I miss normal training and seeing my boys on the field.”

Austria may have been one of the first European countries to map out the lifting of its lockdown, with small firms, DIY stores and garden centres allowed to reopen immediately after Easter.

But the prospect of England taking similar measures remains unlikely in the short term, with Struber conscious of the need for solidarity in his country of work.

“It is not just difficult in football, but every situation,” he continued.

“I hope we can see the light at the end of the tunnel in the next few weeks and have a good fantasy for football. Right now it is difficult and the focus and concentration is to stay at home and looking to the advice of the government and NHS.

“This is the most important thing right now.”

As it stands and for a few weeks yet, Struber’s players must continue to train from home, but rest assured that he and his coaching staff are monitoring their output.

Struber said: “We stay in contact with my staff via WhatsApp, my phone and Skype conferences.

“I am in contact with my players and they all have a special plan right now – and the only thing we can do is work on basic endurance and resilience so they have a good conditioning when they go back, so we can start with high intensity.

“The most important thing is that the boys have a good base when they come back.”