IAN Evatt admits to a feeling of unease as his team embark upon a lengthy away trip to Exeter City with the nation in the grip of a lockdown.

Whereas many Bolton fans are unable to visit friends and family down the road, Wanderers' players and staff set off yesterday lunchtime on a 500-mile round trip.

Coronavirus restrictions look set to tighten around the country in the next 24 hours as infections continue to rise, yet top level football continues to tick over with a full programme of games set to be played on Tuesday night.

Leagues outside the Championship in Scotland were halted yesterday, while steps three to six in the English game have also been put on pause.

The Premier League and EFL remain committed to continuing their competitions after last season's disruption, however, and Wanderers ' players will now be tested twice a week for the virus after the PFA agreed to foot a £5million bill.

The lateral flow tests are almost certain to mean more absentees and further disruption to the fixture schedule but, for now, Evatt says the club must carry on regardless.

"It is certainly testing times for everybody," said the Wanderers boss. "And to be honest, the way the world is at the minute, where you are reading the news what is happening in certain places in the UK, hospitals being overwhelmed, bodies being put in ice rinks again, it opens your mind.

"It does feel slightly wrong that we’re continuing with all that going on around us.

"We’re asking people to stay at home, but we’ve got a six-and-a-half hour trip to Exeter on a bus and then staying in a hotel and we’ve all come from different areas .

"We’re either locked down or we’re not is what I’m trying to say - and it just doesn't feel like we are at the moment.”

Wanderers have so far avoided the worst of the virus, registering just two positive cases when EFL tests were carried out after their game against Crawley.

Evatt declined to elaborate on who had been affected, or whether it would have a profound effect on his team selection at Exeter. But he added that the wider ramifications of keeping a football club fully operational should also be taken into consideration.

"You have football players, staff and the general workforce at a club who all have families, so you have to remember that they could be related to someone who is at risk," he said. "They are coming into work every day with that playing on their mind and it can't be easy.

"So I would think we have to make a decision pretty quickly otherwise we’re going to get into the realms of what happened last year with points-per-game.

"We are still relatively early on still in the season so we have an opportunity but what that’ll be, I don’t know.

"For now it just feels slightly morally wrong that we’re continuing as normal when the rest of the UK is where it is.”

There is also an added pressure on football to adhere to rules after several players have hit the headlines for the wrong reasons in recent weeks.

“Football is a fish bowl," Evatt added. "Most people in this country love it and we know we’re seen as ambassadors, so we have to make sure what we do is correct within the government and EFL rules and regulations.

“As you have seen, we’re really strict on that. We have only had two cases in the whole season and maybe had a bit of luck along the way.

“But we have to make sure we’re acting with integrity and honesty in everything we do and that we abide by the rules. The lads know them, we all know them.

“And, fingers crossed, once this terrible wave is over and done with we can move forward and people can get the vaccine, supporters back in stadia, some sort of normality back. I’m starting to struggle to remember what it was like to have people in stadia and have a normal life, which is really sad."