TESTING has been stepped up for Colchester United’s players and staff this week, as football continues amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

And Miles Welch-Hayes is acutely aware of the need to follow coronavirus protocols, in order for everyone to stay healthy and safe.

The EFL have launched twice-weekly testing in a bid to combat the spread of the virus and the U’s right-back has first-hand knowledge of how vital it is for everyone to follow the rules.

“We need to make sure that everyone is following the right things,” said Welch-Hayes.

“My mum works in a care home, so I know what it’s like.

“She lives in Oxford - I speak to her a lot and she tells me how it is in the home and how dangerous it can be.

“It opens my eyes a lot to hear about a different job and makes you realise how important it is to stay safe and not be selfish.

“It’s very important to make sure that we’re following all of the procedures set in place.

“We’re fit and healthy and it might not affect us as much.

“But it’s important that we don’t pass it on to our families and other people around us who maybe do have problems, as it could really affect them.

“We’ve never really been in this situation before but you sort of have to get used to it.

“It’s been around for quite a while now and you have to adapt to it – it is what it is.

“A lot of people are stuck in at home or not being paid or are on furlough, so as a footballer you do really appreciate that some people are out there struggling.

“It’s affected a lot of people’s mental health and the suicide rate has gone up, so we have to count ourselves lucky.

“I’m grateful every day that I can come and train and play here.”

Colchester are set to return to action tomorrow when they host third-placed Cambridge United, at the JobServe Community Stadium.

The U’s have lost only once at home in League Two this season and Welch-Hayes is aiming to chalk up another win.

“We’re very good at home and we need to take that into the game on Saturday,” added the former Macclesfield Town defender.

“We need to get back to being more consistent like we were earlier in the season and get on a little run and pick up points.

“I try not to look at the league table too much because there are a lot of games that we need to catch up.

“It’s better to look at it when everyone is on the same amount of games – it’s a bit false at the moment.

“Training has been good and intense – I suppose you can take a positive from it.

“It means we can focus more on how we want to play but we’re itching to get back playing and hopefully get three points.

“It’s helped the injured players massively in that they’ve had more time to recover, get back fit and help out the team.

“You can take a positive from every negative situation, I think.”