ACCRINGTON Stanley manager John Coleman says it is “business as usual” for him and his players until the outcome of today’s coronavirus COBRA meeting is known.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is today expected to escalate the UK’s response to COVID-19 from containment to the delay phase, which could impact on sporting events as well as other social distancing methods.

That could mean football matches in the Premier League and Football League are played behind closed doors, if they go ahead at all.

But Coleman says until there is an official announcement he will continue to plan for Saturday’s League One clash at Portsmouth.

“It’s in the lap of the gods. There’s a big government meeting this afternoon so we’ll know more after that I’d imagine,” said the Stanley manager.

“As much as we do put football at the forefront of our lives it really isn’t the be all and end all of society, although sometimes it feels like it is – and a lot of the time in my household it is.

“You have to do what’s best for the country. If that’s play games, great; if that’s don’t play games, we’ll have to get on with it; if that’s playing behind closed doors then we have to get on with that. But it will be business as usual until someone tells us otherwise.”

Accrington owner Andy Holt has already called on football bosses to suspend the season to protect fans from coronavirus.

The outspoken owner says the season should be finished off in the summer to allow time for the virus alert to die down – especially as many supporters are in the at-risk over-70s group.

He tweeted: “If I had my way the EFL would pause the season in response to COVID-2019.

“The games can be caught up nearer the summer when we know better how bad this filthy, horrible virus affects the UK.

“There is no case for continuing increasing risks with gatherings of millions of supporters, decent folk.

“I’d take the lead here, I would not wait for others to decide. My mates in Italy all say their government acted too late. There will be a cost to clubs but not nearly enough to take the risk.

"And I’m not in a state of panic. As Henry Ford once said, ‘why have the risk where you don’t need any?’

"We should not be gaming this virus. One life lost is too many and I don’t care how old or infirm the person is. It’s time for something I’ve never seen in the EFL, strong leadership.

"Time to get the tanks on the lawn. Older people don’t deserve to die. I’m sick of hearing ‘but he (or she) was old and had pre-existing conditions'. Our parents and grandparents matter.”

Coleman added: “Its very difficult to shut down life. Interaction with human beings is part of society.

“I suppose popular gatherings increases the chances of a quicker spread.

“This is strictly out of my jurisdiction. You’d like to think the government would take advice off top health officials and won’t do it an the whim of the person who’s in charge.”

Asked about the prospect of playing behind closed doors, Coleman said it would change the dynamic.

Portsmouth have an average attendance of almost 18,000 at Fratton Park.

“I haven’t experienced behind closed doors games but I’ve experienced bounce games and friendlies where you play at a training ground, so I would think it would be very much akin to that,” said the Reds boss.