Postponements mount as Covid disrupts midweek football action

League Two has been badly affected with eight of its planned 11 games called off.

Pa Sport Staff
Tuesday 28 December 2021 18:23
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The number of postponed matches in the English Football League on Wednesday has now risen to a dozen (Zac Goodwin/PA)
The number of postponed matches in the English Football League on Wednesday has now risen to a dozen (Zac Goodwin/PA)

The number of matches postponed due to coronavirus outbreaks continues to mount with 19 of Wednesday’s fixtures in England now called off.

The Yorkshire derby between Sheffield United and Hull, in the Sky Bet Championship, was among the latest to fall victim.

Just 11 fixtures remain on across the divisions, including both scheduled games in the Premier League. Leaders Manchester City are due to visit Brentford while third-placed Chelsea are at home to Brighton.

On Tuesday, Hull announced their trip to Bramall Lane had joined a list of postponed Championship games which already included Birmingham v Peterborough, Reading v Fulham and Swansea v Luton.

Hull, whose Boxing Day clash against Blackburn was postponed just over two hours before kick-off, said in a statement: “Our match at Sheffield United on Wednesday, December 29 has been postponed due to the Tigers having an insufficient number of players available to fulfil the fixture.

“The club has worked hard to ensure it has been able to play the game.

“However, taking into account the injuries and positive Covid-19 cases in the squad, we do not have the required numbers for the match to take place.”

League One has now seen the postponement of six games. Those already called off at Burton and Charlton were joined on Tuesday by the MK Dons v Cheltenham, Plymouth v Portsmouth, Wigan v Fleetwood and Rotherham v Lincoln fixtures.

Plymouth have also had their New Year’s Day clash with AFC Wimbledon called off, while Fleetwood’s trip to Sunderland on January 2 has gone the same way.

A statement on Fleetwood’s website read: “Fleetwood Town’s Sky Bet League One fixtures against Wigan Athletic and Sunderland on Wednesday 29 December and Sunday 2 January respectively have been postponed.

“The club has worked hard to ensure that it has been able to fulfil the fixture, however, taking into account the number of injuries and positive Covid-19 cases within the squad, the club does not have a sufficient number of players available in order to fulfil the fixture.

“Rearranged dates will be confirmed for both fixtures in due course.”

Rotherham confirmed their postponement in a statement explaining Lincoln  had fallen foul of rising Covid cases.

“Lincoln City informed the Millers and the EFL on Tuesday afternoon that they would be unable to fulfil the fixture at AESSEAL New York Stadium due to a number of positive COVID-19 cases in their squad,” read a Rotherham statement.

“At present, Rotherham United are not aware of any positive cases within our own playing squad.”

League Two has been hit particularly hard with only two of the planned 11 fixtures remaining.

Tranmere’s visit to Hartlepool, Colchester’s trip to Sutton and the clash between Rochdale and Port Vale were the latest to go.

“The club has worked hard to ensure that it has been able to fulfil all fixtures,” read a Tranmere statement.

“However, taking into account the injuries and positive Covid-19 cases with the squad, the club does not have a sufficient number of players available in order to fulfil the fixture.

“In light of the increased transmission rate of the Omicron variant, the EFL will now review the circumstances surrounding the postponement.

“In addition it will assist affected clubs throughout this challenging period to help them mitigate against the risk of infection amongst players and staff, while ensuring their obligations to the EFL regulations are maintained.”

Colchester have also been hit by Covid-19 and the club said in a statement: “Like the Orient fixture on Boxing Day, everything possible was done to ensure that the fixture could take place but injuries and positive Covid-19 cases within the U’s squad meant there isn’t the sufficient number of players available in order to fulfil the fixture.”

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