Cauley Woodrow admits returning to Oakwell for the first time since March for a 20-second coronavirus test was strange, as will be socially-distanced training next week, but he is excited to be back. 

Barnsley’s top-scorer will wait to hear, along with the other players and staff, the results of yesterday’s tests which should be known today.  Those who get the all-clear will be training at Oakwell from Monday. 

Woodrow told the Chronicle: “It was strange. I hadn’t been to the stadium for over two months so it was weird driving back in. But we had been briefed on how the procedure works. We weren’t allowed out of our cars. I drove to the main stand and the physios and doctors were waiting in their overalls with swabs. I pulled up, they swabbed my throat and nose and took my temperature.  

"It only took about 20 seconds, then I left. We all had five minute slots throughout the day.  Some of the other lads were driving in and out while I was there so I saw from a distance that there were a few dodgy lockdown beards and haircuts.  Hopefully all the tests at our club and other clubs come back negative.” 

Woodrow has missed training and is looking forward to doing it again from Monday although the players will be in five groups of five and will have to obey social distancing measures. He said: “We usually see each other more than we see our families, training every day and then travelling to games and staying in hotels. So it’s been really strange not seeing them.  We have been given an idea of how we will train. We will try to keep as much distance from each other as we can. 

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“I imagine we will be doing a lot of individual ball-work and running because it’s hard to replicate games. If we can keep our fitness up, we will be in good shape when for whenever we train properly.  The kitman has given us our training kit to take home. Normally it gets washed every day at the club then given back to us in the morning.”

Some players at other clubs have refused to return to training due to safety concerns. Woodrow said: “I 100 per cent understand other players’ decision and it’s down to them. If one of the lads at Barnsley decided they didn’t want to come in and train, then I would completely understand that. For me, as long as the right safety procedures are taken and we are doing all that we can to try to not catch the virus, then I want to come back to training. I think a lot of the lads probably think the same.”

Barnsley head coach Gerhard Struber has criticised the EFL for the lack of a clear plan on when full training will start and a date of the first game. Woodrow said: “It would be nice to know exactly what is going on but we understand the situation that the EFL is in and it is difficult to give answers.  We are taking the first steps and, if that goes well, then I am sure things will be ramped up.”

Struber has also highlighted the risk of players picking up injuries in a nine-game spell following a long break.  Woodrow said: “Injuries are always in players’ minds but, with nine games being crammed in, injuries will happen. We just have to do our best with our injury prevention stuff to try to stay as healthy as we can.”

Barnsley are seven points adrift and bottom of the Championship with nine games remaining. Woodrow said: “Seven points seems a big task but I think this break has helped by taking the pressure off us. It could be a good thing. A lot of teams can’t get promoted or relegated so now is our chance to take a lot of points off them and get out of this position.” 

Woodrow has 15 goals this season and is the sixth highest scorer in the Championship despite playing for the bottom club. He was an injury doubt for Barnsley’s trip to Queens Park Rangers in March which was cancelled due to the coronavirus crisis. He said: “I probably wouldn’t have played at QPR and maybe the next games as well. So I have had time to get back to full fitness. Fingers crossed I stay fit all season. It’s a team game and I would take not scoring for the rest of the season and us staying up. But, on a personal note, I want to score goals and I have done that since I have been at Barnsley.”