Huddersfield Town’s Christopher Schindler hopes to have found winning recipe for return

School work: Christopher Schindler.School work: Christopher Schindler.
School work: Christopher Schindler.
Today is an important landmark for Championship footballers as they emerge from their lockdown and return to training grounds.

Huddersfield Town’s Christopher Schindler has been able to use his coronavirus-enforced hibernation for self-improvement and will return to Canalside with his culinary skills enhanced.

The uncertainty surrounding League One means their players will remain at home, waiting to hear if their 2019-20 campaign will be abandoned or if they too will be asked to continue.

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But after a first set of what will be twice-weekly Covid-19 tests, their Championship colleagues are set to return to work today.

Players can only train in small, socially-distanced groups under strict protocols and training-ground canteens are closed, although players are allowed to take food home after each session.

For weeks, Schindler has been confined to his West Yorkshire home, and the German believes some good has come from it.

“We’ve had a lot of time to think and we’ve also had to have a mind that as we weren’t training our nutrition was very, very key,” he explained.

“I made a big step forward on that by cooking more often.

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“Often you will go out for food or get a delivery but now I’m cooking as much food as I can from fresh.

“You read more about it and learn more about it and cooking for myself is giving me so many benefits.”

There have been areas Schindler has found more difficult. “At times, the home-schooling is more challenging than it should be,” admits the Huddersfield captain, who has a young daughter.

“At times it reminds me how long ago my school days were! It keeps you occupied for at least a couple of hours each day and my wife was able to help when I needed to go for a run or whatever.

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“It’s difficult for children as for my wife, but it’s difficult for everyone. Almost everybody is in the same boat in that respect.

“It’s been all about planning your day and home-schooling is welcome because I feel purposeful. I kind of enjoy it and try to be as positive as I possibly can.”

The next phase of the return to football – contact training – is still to be decided on, just as no date has yet been set for when matches will resume.

The Football League has set a July 31 deadline for Championship clubs to complete their nine remaining matches.

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At least, though, there is light at the end of the tunnel for players who have to remain at home unable to see their team-mates since mid-March. Huddersfield’s last game was the March 7 defeat against Championship leaders Leeds United at Elland Road.

As well as trying to keep fit without access to the Canalside gymnasium or the motivation of knowing the return date they are working towards, there has also been the challenge of trying to keep the team feeling connected, particularly those who live alone.

“I stayed in Huddersfield,” explains Schindler. “I didn’t leave the country because in the transitional period (when Canalside was closed but before the lockdown started) we just thought it was better to stay here in case we go back early to playing football. If I had been in Germany, there wouldn’t have been much else I could do.

“The manager (Danny Cowley) would try to give everyone a call and just make sure they were okay because the well-being is fundamental,” says Schindler. “He was calling players on a daily basis.

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“We had some (fitness) sessions over video so we can see each other and almost make sure we have the dressing room atmosphere. Especially for the guys who are alone and don’t have family with them, it’s really important. I have a wife and daughter so I’m kind of occupied with home schooling.”

With the team just three points above the Championship relegation zone and preparation time for the run-in likely to be short assuming the remaining obstacles to a resumption of the season can be cleared, the physical and psychological work the Terriers have been doing could prove very important.

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