QPR v Sheffield Wednesday - Darren Moore remains ‘hands on’ in isolation

DARREN MOORE will be managing a football team from home for what he hopes will be the last time today.

Whilst his Sheffield Wednesday players are at Queens Park Rangers, Moore will be in South Yorkshire, in constant communication. He has recovered from Covid-19, but cannot come into contact with his players until Monday.

In a season of unprecedented use of the word unprecedented, Moore has been through this before, and learnt from it.

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In November, the Doncaster Rovers coaching staff were forced into isolation after contact with a coronavirus sufferer at Wimbledon’s Plough Lane. Moore missed an FA Cup tie at FC United of Manchester and a Football League Trophy game with Wolverhampton Wanderers Under-23s, leaving Andy Butler – who has since replaced him at the Keepmoat Stadium – to run things.

Sheffield Wednesday players celebrate during their 5-0 demolition of Cardiff City. Picture: PA

“This pandemic is a massive learning curve for every single one of us,” he reflects. “I’ve been more hands-on this time in terms of preparation and keeping in contact with the team.

“Even though I’ve been here (at home) I’ve been very much in contact with them on a matchday. I videoed in with them before training on Friday.

“When the game’s going on we’ve got a phone and an earpiece to staff members at the game.

“At the game you can take your eyes away from the ball and see what’s happening but on TV you don’t get a wide lens shot. When you’re at the game you’re attuned to it, you feel the energy, the tempo, the ebb and flow.

GUIDING LIGHT: Sheffield Wednesday boss Darren Moore Picture: Steve Ellis

“The other night I was making a point and they said, ‘Just stay on the line for 20 seconds, gaffer and watch it,’ and we scored the fourth goal!”

It has helped that today’s match, like Monday’s, is live on Sky Sports.

“You’ve got more camera angles and you might get replays,” says Moore. “At this level I don’t know whether it’s the camera angles or more contact with coaching staff and analysts, but I’ve got more of a feel to the game this time so it’s kind of a joint effort.

“Five years ago all you’d be able to do was speak on the phone whereas now I can do a lot, lot more to lend my support, energy and advice.

“It keeps you a little bit sane as well but I’d far rather be there.

“I’m working through the day, working alongside them before and after training, finding out how it all went. I’ll touch base after they get to the hotel, and again in the morning. When the team’s on the way home I’ll still be working because there’s another game to prepare for on Tuesday.”

With no fresh injuries reported but no players back either, today’s preparations have been straight-forward in the sense it is just about building on Monday’s stunning 5-0 win against Cardiff.

“It was a good all-round team performance,” says Moore.

QPR will be a different game. They’re a different opposition to Cardiff.

“It’s important we build on top of that and keep our performances heading that right way.”

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