CAPTAIN Simon Francis admits he feels “fortunate” he can spend his time away from football with his family, adding: “I’m certainly thinking about the younger lads.”

With Cherries currently working on individual fitness programmes at home, Francis has not been back to the training ground since being sent home on March 13, a day before the scheduled clash with Crystal Palace, which was postponed.

And with schools now closed for the foreseeable future to try and prevent the spread of coronavirus, Francis is set to spend more time at home with wife Ashley and young children Halle and Jude.

He is one of many parents within the Cherries squad including the likes of Adam Smith, Artur Boruc, Charlie Daniels, Steve Cook and Joshua King, who all have youngsters at home.

But Francis, 35, says he does have some concern over how some of the other members of the squad will cope during the time away from training.

“I kind of feel for the younger players in this situation, especially the single lads who maybe don’t have as many family and friends nearby,” Francis told the Daily Echo.

“I’m fortunate enough to have two children at home who certainly keep me busy in these situations and my wife. But the younger lads who can’t travel, this time off normally if it was an international break or end of the season they could even go away and get abroad for a few days or at least travel and go and see their friends and family but it’s just not the case at the moment.

“They’re having to stay in the area for further updates on when they’re back at training. You’ve got injured lads as well who are still in the middle of rehab, they can’t just not continue doing that because that will slow them down in their recovery.

“There’s so many things that have to be looked at.

“I actually feel fortunate in this situation that I’ve got the kids at home and I can stay busy but I’m certainly thinking about the younger lads and even in the lower leagues it must be really hard for a lot of players.”

Following a meeting on Thursday, the Premier League have pushed back the resumption of the season until April 30 at the earliest.

Asked what the general mood has been like amongst the Cherries squad in the past week or so, Francis said: “The worst thing is the unknown. Anyone will tell you, being a footballer you just want to know when your games are, when you’re training and you get into that routine and that can be day-to-day.

“Being a footballer you know when you’re waking up, you know you’re training, you know when your games are and right now it’s just been completely thrown up in the air and that’s the biggest problem.

“We don’t know when our next game is going to be so that really is the biggest hurdle to overcome, just that unknown.

“The lads are talking every day on WhatsApp, we have a group with everybody in and we’re getting updates and messages from the coaching staff as well and fitness coach Dan Hodges, who has sent out the training programme and schedule and everything like that.

“So you can keep busy in that respect, but ultimately it’s hard not to watch the news every single hour because it feels like there’s updates and we’re getting told something every single day and we’re just trying to stay aware really.”