Aberdonian Paul Coutts hopes he can lead Fleetwood Town into the Championship for the first time as English football prepares to resume.
The English Premier League returns tonight, while the Championship is set to get back underway at the weekend.
League One and Two won’t complete their seasons, but their play-offs will take place.
Coutts, who started his senior career with Cove Rangers in the Highland League, is captain of Fleetwood, who ended up sixth in the table.
Joey Barton’s side will face Wycombe Wanderers in the play-off semi-final behind closed doors on July 3 and July 6 and if the Lancashire side get through they’ll tackle Oxford United or Portsmouth in the final behind closed doors at Wembley on July 13.
League One was extremely tight with just three points separating Rotherham in second and Sunderland in eighth.
Fleetwood were two points behind Rotherham and Coutts felt they had a chance of reaching the automatic promotion spots, but hopes they can still get to English football’s second tier through the play-offs.
The 31-year-old said: “For us the reaction was bit mixed. Our league was so tight from second down to ninth.
“We were unbeaten in our last eight games before football was stopped and got into the play-offs.
“However, we were also only two points off second place and fancied ourselves to catch the top two.
“But on the flip side with it being so tight and having been off for three months we’d have taken the play-offs.
“The way it panned out you didn’t really want to play 11 games after three months off and risk losing the play-off spot.
“If they had been played we felt we could have got the top two, but having had the break we’re pretty pleased we’ve got three games in front of us to try to get promotion.
“It’s a good achievement already to reach the play-offs for a club of Fleetwood’s size, especially when you see Sunderland and Ipswich further down and preparing for another season in League One.
“It would be great to get into the Championship, we’ve done well so far, but our sole focus is to try to get promoted because if we could do it then it would be an unbelievable achievement.”
Fleetwood returned to training last week following social distancing guidelines and this week they’ve been allowed to train in groups of four, however, Coutts says it’s not ideal preparation for the play-offs.
The former, Peterborough, Preston, Derby and Sheffield United midfielder added: “We knew quite early on we’d be back playing one way or the other whether it was finishing the league campaign or just being in the play-offs.
“We had done two-and-a-half months of solid running on our own and then we come back in and there is no contact.
“It’s just small groups and there is a bit of ball work, but there’s no five-a-sides or anything like that, most of it is just individual running.
“Then phase two is groups of four with one coach which started this week and the play-offs have been announced for July 3 and 6 (final July 13).
“So it’s reasonably soon, particularly when we’re not allowed to do any contact training or 11 v 11 games.
“It’s difficult because they’ve planned this return to training, but then the fixtures are so soon, so it’s difficult to be ready.”
Coutts’ experience of return-to-training protocols Premiership clubs are now using
Scottish Premiership clubs have returned to training over the last week as they gear up for next season starting on August 1.
Fleetwood Town captain Paul Coutts has gone through the same processes as Scotland’s top flight players and has opened up on what it’s like returning to training during the pandemic.
The Aberdonian said: “We drive in and get our temperature taken and questionnaire done while you’re still in the car.
“Then you go through the Covid-19 testing in one changing room and then go straight out on to the pitch.
“You turn up in all your kit and then afterwards you go back in and leave your GPS unit and heart-rate monitor and it’s back in the car and away.
“There’s no socialising and it’s quite strange really compared with normal.
“It’s not the most pleasant thing I’ve ever had. You get swabbed at the back of your throat and up your nose.
“And it’s not like the edge of your nostrils, it’s right up your nose and it feels like it’s behind your eyeballs.
“So it’s not the best experience, but it’s something that has to be done.
“It definitely puts your mind at ease. We’ve been getting tested on Mondays and Thursdays for two weeks now.
“But the doctor keeps reminding us that the test is out of date as soon as you get the results and you could catch it in between times.
“So it’s really important for us to follow the guidelines with social distancing and handwashing and being careful like everyone else.”