THE inconsistency in messages leading up to the unheralded suspension of the football season for the coronavirus pandemic has left Swindon Town boss Richie Wellens frustrated.

Friday morning saw the Premier League and EFL follow the lead of much of the rest of Europe’s professional football leagues in temporarily halting matches, with action due to return no sooner than April 4.

All that came after Thursday’s proclamation by Prime Minster Boris Johnson that sporting events would continue, among other control methods considered modest compared to other countries across the continent.

But by the evening it was revealed that Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta and Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi had tested positive for coronavirus, with other top-flight clubs putting players and staff into self-isolation and training grounds undergoing deep cleans.

And come yesterday there was a change of plan as the Premier League and EFL suspended matches for at least three weeks.

Swindon had been en route to Lancashire to prepare for their away game at Oldham Athletic, only to turn back once the news broke.

“We were going to train at Burnley’s training ground today, so we were on our way up, then obviously the news came through,” Wellens said.

“It doesn’t help when the Prime Minister is coming out on the Thursday saying all sporting events will go ahead, then you prepare for the game, put your travel on, then the next day all the games are off.

“They should give you a little bit of a heads up. We were halfway up at Birmingham.

“The players will get on with it. They’ve had loads of things thrown at them this season so we’ll just deal with it.

“Burnley were kind enough anyway with the situation going on to let us use their training ground.

“Then when the news came through that everything was cancelled, Premier League and the EFL, there was no point going up there to train.”

Despite his frustration at the timing, Wellens had no argument with the decision itself.

“I’m no expert in what the situation is, but looking at what other countries have done it’s probably the right call,” he said.

“It gives them a little bit of time to evaluate things and see what’s going to happen and where we’re at if the situation escalates.

“It’s not ideal for us because we’re in a good moment, since Christmas we’ve been in good form.

“We’ll just have to wait and make sure that the players and ourselves manage ourselves in these three weeks and make sure that if we need to play on April 4 then we’re ready.”

The club have also taken further measures to protect players and staff against the coronavirus threat.

All academy activities, including training, have been postponed, while the club shop and reception will be closed until further noticed.

In non-league football, meanwhile, the Southern League have postponed games up to and including March 21, leaving Swindon Supermarine and Highworth Town without matches this weekend.

The Hellenic League have also suspended matches until March 31.