ACCRINGTON Stanley assistant manager Jimmy Bell fears the club may not survive if their five remaining home games are played behind closed doors, if at all.

It was announced yesterday that the suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic would be extended from April 4 to April 30 - at the earliest - with the football authorities stressing they were committed to finding a way to resume the 2019/20 campaign.

More than half of Stanley’s remaining games are scheduled to be played at the Wham Stadium, with Doncaster, Coventry City, Fleetwood, Bristol Rovers and Wycombe the visitors on the final day.

Bell believes altogether those fixtures would bring in around £500,000 to the club’s coffers.

Without that income, he feels the Reds, and similar clubs, will struggle.

“Health and safety comes first for everyone, but speaking for my profession this is an absolute disaster for football,” he said.

“I can’t believe what’s happening. It’s like watching a film and thinking ‘that’s a bit far-fetched’.

“You hear of all these cases and what’s going on around the world, and I’m just foreseeing a lot of problems that are going to happen in the weeks and months to come.

“There will be families that won’t be able to put food on tables and not pay for things. It’s a lot bigger than football.

“But on a football front I’m really frustrated that it’s happened and how it’s happening.”

He added: “Looking at the five home games we’ve got left that’s close to half a million pounds. Can Accrington Stanley survive? I know there are other clubs in that position.

“I’m really concerned about my own income and about the club. And obviously not only that but a lot of people’s lives.

“There are a lot of clubs whose football world will collapse because of this.”

The EFL this week announced a £50m package to help clubs with immediate cashflow problems as a result of the suspension of matches.

Bell welcomed the news and added: “I hope the EFL and Premier League continue to look into helping clubs.

“Andy Holt (club owner) is a realist, he looks at things, how monetary things are going to happen and the way the season will pan out and comes up with solutions. He is very good at that.

“But even with him can Accrington survive with no money coming in? We certainly need some help.

“We are all a bit unsure of what’s going to happen.”

Stanley were hopeful of being able to return to training next week but Bell says they will continue to monitor the situation and follow Government guidelines.

“We gave the players a week off to assess the situation and they have been advised to keep ticking over and do things on their own,” said the Reds’ number two.

“I’d like them to come in for a couple of days next week but if we get advised that’s not feasible then it won’t happen.

“Until we get directives from hierarchies it’s hard to even plan anything.

“We might come in for a couple of days next week and have a game amongst ourselves if we can, and maybe do the same the week after.

“But at the moment you can’t plan for anything at all.”