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Behind closed doors small price to pay in order to play

New Bohs man Twardek just wants to get football going again as he awaits getting recall from Canada


FAN FAVOURITE: Chris Twardek has made an impact in his short time at Bohs and can’t wait to get back playing. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

FAN FAVOURITE: Chris Twardek has made an impact in his short time at Bohs and can’t wait to get back playing. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile


FAN FAVOURITE: Chris Twardek has made an impact in his short time at Bohs and can’t wait to get back playing. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Dublin is out of sight but not out of mind for Bohemians winger Kris Twardek who is ready to return to Ireland from his base in his native Canada once football gets the all-clear to resume action.

And the former Millwall player hopes that he'll still get to achieve his aims of playing in Europe for his club and competing in the Olympic games for his country despite the interruption due to Covid-19.

Twardek's plan for early May, in those pre-virus days, was to carry on his domestic career with Bohs, while planning for the Europa League in July and also hope that qualifiers, in Mexico, for the Olympics in April would have sent his Canadian U-23 side on to Tokyo.

Instead, it's all on hold as Twardek is holed up in Ottawa waiting for the green light to get back to work.

"I saw the signs of what was to come and when they announced that football would be delayed until June, I took the opportunity to go home about a month ago, to be closer to family," Twardek says.

"It just made sense for me to go home. The biggest thing for me was being close to home at a difficult time. I'm in the same boat as everyone, waiting for certainty in terms of what happens with the league.

Strict rules

"Playing behind closed doors and strict rules for changing and training will change the match-day experience but that's a small price to pay to have football back again, it's a matter of staying fit and healthy."

Twardek was a crowd favourite in his short time at Bohs before Covid-19 stopped play and he insists he will be back in the black-and-red shirt. "I plan to come back, no doubt about that," he says.

"Every single Bohs player would love to be in Dalymount playing in front of a sold-out stand as the atmosphere is class. I was only there for a few weeks, just three home games, but I can tell already it's a special place. Every footballer wants to play, the biggest thing is getting the ball rolling. Once it has started, then, hopefully, the fans can come back.

"If football is to come back, we have to take the proper precautions, limit the spread as much as possible as we all need to do the right things to stay healthy."

Bohs boss Keith Long would have been without Twardek for a spell in late March/early April as he'd been named in Canada's U-23 squad for Olympic games qualifiers.

Not only have the qualifiers been postponed, the tournament has been put back a year, an initial concern for Twardek due to the age limit but he's been told he can feature for the U-23s even though he will have turned 24 next year, if and when the Tokyo games go ahead.

"They extended the age bracket, that's a positive for me as I was at the edge of the age group so I'd be eligible for next year," says Twardek, who joined Bohs from Sligo Rovers at the start of the year.

"The disappointment is that we were only a few days away from the qualifying games when the lockdown happened, everyone in the squad was looking forward to that and it was probably the right decision to call it off, all those countries coming together, but your mindset as a player has to be to keep focused and go again next year, get yourself into the team and hopefully qualify. All you can do is assume the Olympics are on and plan accordingly."

He's also desperate for Bohs to get to play in the Europa League this summer. "We have one of the most promising teams in Ireland now with the age profile and Europe is very appealing, any player looking to push on their career would love to play there for the exposure and the chance to test yourself," he says.

Updates from the Gypsies' medical staff have allowed him stay in touch despite the Atlantic-sized gap.

"The club gave us a fitness programme to follow so we were well prepared.

"We had detailed work to do on our runs, our mobility work, but you need to be creative as well as there's only so much you can do on your own, with no access to gyms, but you can't moan about it, a lot of people have it worse than us and you have to be resilient and focused and looking forward to coming back.

"The message we have been sent is to think that the season is still on track and to be ready for whenever we are called back, I have told the manager that I'll be ready to come back at the snap of a finger," he added, life in Canada similar to his adopted home in Dublin.

No gatherings

"In Canada, they took pretty serious actions, like Ireland, there were a lot of similarities between the two countries. No gatherings of more than five people, most businesses are shut so they did a good job.

"It's sad to see the nursing homes get hit but the Canadian government did a good job. Only the essential business are open, food shops and take-aways but gyms and things like that are closed.

"They are starting to discuss stages of reopening here, it's hard but so many people have it much worse, I can't complain," he added.