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Josh Magennis

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Josh Magennis fears that as a black footballer with asthma he could be more vulnerable to contracting Covid-19 when he returns to training with Hull City.

The Northern Ireland striker has spent lockdown with his family in Manchester but said Hull were planning for players to begin training again on Monday.

He revealed that he and his team-mates were to be tested for coronavirus on Friday.

"I am concerned to be honest with you," said 29-year-old Magennis. "You read what's going on in the news. At the start we were told that it might not effect people with asthma too much, but now we hear that asthma is on the list of things that make people vulnerable. I have asthma, I've had it for 10 years, and my youngest son has it. I wouldn't say it is severe, but it is enough to disrupt what he is doing, especially when he is exercising. I also saw on the news recently that ethnic minorities, black men and women, are more likely to suffer severe consequences if they catch coronavirus. You are reading all of this and, you know what it is like when you are at home, there are loads of things going through your mind. You're wondering what is going to happen."

Magennis, who had been living in Hull away from his family home since joining the Tigers last summer from Bolton Wanderers, said he had total faith in the Championship club to create an environment at training that was as safe as possible. However, he explained that it is the changes to his daily routine, that a return to living in Hull would mean, that are worrying him most.

"My wife and I haven't had to leave home since we went into lockdown, we have just stayed at home and haven't had to see anyone else," he continued. I have no problem with the thought process of going back to training - we all have to go back - but it is the extra exposure that will come with it. There will be uncertainty just coming and going from training. To go back to training will mean I will have to go back to my home in Hull. To do that will mean I will have to go shopping there, be around more people and even do small things like having to fill up my car."

Magennis will take part in a club video meeting on Thursday, when players and staff will have the opportunity to express any concerns they have.

"I think the last thing our manager wants is players taking a stance and refusing to return," the former Aberdeen and Charlton Athletic forward said. "The idea is that if anyone has any issues then we can have a conversation and work it out. Hull are doing all they can to make sure that our training environment is safe and I have 100% confidence that that will be the case."

While a return to training is planned for next week, Magennis estimates that it will still be some time before players are able to take part in full contact sessions. He also said that he would be happy to accept whatever decision is made regarding whether to play the current season to a finish or not.

"We are not allowed in the building unless we are using the toilet or having treatment. We won't be allowed into the gym and cars will have to be parked two spaces away from each other," he added. "At first it will be small groups of four and five players training, basically doing like a mini pre-season with staggered arrival times for players. It will not be like other people's jobs who, when they go back will be doing the full job they were used to before. That won't be the case for us as it could be three to four weeks before we are able to do full contact training.

"As far as the rest of the season is concerned, I was told a long time ago that I'm not paid to think, I'm paid to do. If we are told that the season is going ahead then happy days, but if it has to be voided that's just the case.

"Health and safety has to be paramount - people's lives cannot be put at risk."


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