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Fleetwood Game Could Move to Tuesday
Tuesday, 29th Dec 2020 19:59

Town’s Saturday game at Fleetwood could move to next Tuesday evening with confirmation of its scheduling anticipated on Wednesday.

The Blues’ matches at home to Northampton on Boxing Day and at AFC Wimbledon this evening were postponed after 11 positive Covid-19 tests at Town last week, eight of them first-team players, while two more members of the squad have been self-isolating as they live with people who have tested positive and another reported symptoms but tested negative.

Playford Road was subsequently closed and given a deep clean with the unaffected squad members training individually over Christmas.

All the players who tested positive are now understood to be fine but manager Paul Lambert and general manager of football operations Lee O’Neill are both still feeling the effects.

Five of the players are due back at training following their 10-day periods of self-isolation on Wednesday - another player could return on Thursday having tested positive later and two more on Saturday - having already undergone a medical assessment today and will be monitored by physio Matt Byard during tomorrow’s session.

If the quintet aren’t considered ready for a game on Saturday, Town could potentially have up to 13 players unavailable due to injury and Covid - one injured player has also tested positive - hence Tuesday being looked at as an alternative to allow them more time to get up to speed.

On the other hand, moving the match to Tuesday would mean the squad arriving back in Suffolk in the early hours of Wednesday and having less time to recover for the Saturday 9th January match at home to Swindon and it may be decided it would be better to make the trip to Fleetwood as planned on Saturday despite what could be a very depleted squad.

It had initially been expected that the game would be put back to later in the season but the EFL is keen to get matches played and there are concerns that action such as fines or even points deductions could be handed out retrospectively if games are postponed and it’s later deemed that they could have been played.

A decision is expected to be made tomorrow following training with news likely later in the day or perhaps Thursday.

No further Covid-19 tests are due to take place at Town until players from all EFL clubs are tested on Monday.

League One has been particularly affected by positive tests over the last couple of weeks with the Blues’ fixture at Peterborough having been postponed due to a Posh player contracting the virus prior to Town’s own Covid cases.

This evening’s fixture list in the division has been badly hit with only five of the scheduled 12 matches taking place. The Blues will remain seventh in the table regardless of tonight's results.

Meanwhile, academy central defender Elkan Baggott has been unable to join up with the Indonesia U19s squad currently holding a training camp in Spain.

Flights from the UK to Spain are currently suspended until January 5th. The Indonesian FA are reportedly hoping that the 18-year-old and other similarly absent players will eventually be able to make the trip.

Elsewhere, ex-Town left-back Neil Thompson, 57, has been named caretaker-manager of Sheffield Wednesday following the sacking of Tony Pulis after only 45 days.

Former Blues manager Paul Hurst is at this evening's Grimsby-Oldham match and is set to return to his old job as Mariners' boss. Hurst, 46, was previously in charge at Blundell Park between March 2011 and October 2016.

Photo: Matchday Images

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dirtydingusmagee added 21:37 - Dec 29
7 games off tonight, there will be a lot more in coming weeks, it will end in chaos.

Saxonblue74 added 21:45 - Dec 29
For goodness sake EFL call it off for a month.

Gforce added 22:45 - Dec 29
It would be an absolute farce if the efl expect the Fleetwood match to go ahead, regardless of whether its played Saturday or Tuesday.
We had virtually the whole side knocked for six by covid, even if they are now testing negative, surely they shouldn't be expected to play in such a short space of time. They would have minimal training behind them and would be nowhere near match fit.
Even if they had only been Ill with the flu for a week, they would probably still be to weak for selection, after only 4/5 days recovery time.

BcarefulwhatUWish4 added 01:44 - Dec 30
Can see this season playing through in a similar vein to last season.

Wins are vital. We shouldn't be playing fora draw from this point forward.

Dissboyitfc added 07:23 - Dec 30
Someone remind me why we didnt finish last season! I can see this one ending prematurely also.

Would've been easier to finish last season than its going to be finishing this season.

Cant wait to hear Lamberts postmatch interview after the next game, it will be all about how many players we have lost to injury and covid, with neither of these things affecting anyone else.

Cant see this season ending well on any level.

Saxonblue74 added 07:41 - Dec 30
I think the difference this season will be vaccines, particularly in light of the Oxford vaccine approval today. I can see a break in proceedings, a prolonged season, but I do think it will be concluded.

Cloddyseedbed added 09:23 - Dec 30
For the ones who said it'll now give us time to get injured players back.............I think you'll find the whole squad will now be unfit and even less up to speed than they were in the last game. All ingredients there for a bad return to playing and continual slide down the league. Why did we have such a huge outbreak in the 1st place I ask myself. It seems a lot of the injured ones are still not near fitness according to EADT and KVY still having problems after all this time, despite Lambert saying he was going well. Surely the teams who are able to keep playing are now having a huge advantage to the ones that are going to play catchup.

ArnieM added 09:41 - Dec 30
With the Country in virtual lockdown, how on earth can a football match be deemed necessary or even safe atm. NHS hospitals are in crisis, and The governing bodies of professional football need to get their heads out of their arse and curtail the season for a period of time. It’s common sense isn’t it ??

Europablue added 09:42 - Dec 30
Surely once the whole league has had it we won't be so susceptible to getting it and things can get back to normal. It is a concern for now, as while the player's lives are not in danger, they won't be fully fit if they had heavy symptoms.

Razor added 10:17 - Dec 30
This is just a horrible mess but at least it gives Lambert plenty of excuses when we do get hammered be it Tues or Sat.

December1963 added 10:32 - Dec 30
Just like to take this opportunity to wish all town fans a happier 2021 than 2020 has has been, if you have lost a loved one to this awful virus I hope you find some peace in your life and always remember if you feel alone that you belong to the ITFC family and hopefully we can all be together at Portman road before to long. Happy new year to you all and keep safe.

Saxonblue74 added 10:55 - Dec 30
So Europablue, your points are 1: So long as the whole League get the virus all with be ok. 2: It's ok as the players lives are not in danger. 3: The important thing about the situation is how fit our players will be on their return? We're best part of a year into this but still there's a huge lack of understanding!

Saxonblue74 added 10:55 - Dec 30
Arnie M, absolutely 100%.

ringwoodblue added 11:05 - Dec 30
League one is splitting into two - the teams in the bottom half continue playing while those in the top half fall more and more games behind. At this rate, Shrewsbury will be top of the league!

The EFL just need to suspend the league for a month for health and fairness reasons.

Ipswichbusiness added 11:32 - Dec 30
Those arguing for a suspension of the league for a month might want to explain what it will achieve. We had a lockdown earlier in the year and all it did was to delay the virus.

Vaccines are not the answer so far as football is concerned for two reasons.
1) the vaccines are being given to the vulnerable (the old and the sick) and healthcare workers. The young and the fit (such as football players) will be at the back of the queue.
2) Vaccination will take much more than a month. To date they have managed, according to the Government website, to vaccinate 616,933. That is not a full month and they will increase capacity. Let us say that they manage to increase it to 2 million per month. I understand that the initial target is 20 million (which will not include footballers) so that will take ten months.

Bert added 12:33 - Dec 30
I have yet to see any understandable criteria to demonstrate how the EFL makes its decisions on whether clubs can play. Peterborough, apparently, had one player with a positive test and the game was postponed. We still have players recovering from the virus yet we may be required to play. Where is the logic ?
If anyone wants to be cheered up take a look at the clips, matches etc on You tube about Ipswich Town. It may be nostalgic and not reflective of what we witness today but it still makes me smile and teary
eyed. Happy new year everyone and may our differences on what is best for our club be lessened as we, hopefully, stake a claim to promotion.

ArnieM added 12:38 - Dec 30
Now the Oxford vaccine has been given the thumbs up, MANY, MANY NHS sites will be able to offer the vaccinations.

Up to now only hospitals that had deep cold storage facilities were able to offer the Pfizer vaccine. This is not in any way practical to vaccinate the whole world ( which is what has to be done as near as possible around the same period of time ). THIS is where the Oxford vaccine is head and shoulders above the est. it can be done from any where that has a simple fridge.

I am an NHS clinician and I can tell you the Suffolk GP Federation who is responsible locally for several thousands of patients will begin vaccinations next week. I’ve signed up to administer these myself as my skill sets include injection therapy. The Suffolk GP Fed alone has responsibility for 200,000 patients. But in and around the county , there are numerous “ PCN”s ( groups of surgeries ) that will now also be providing these vaccinations from their own surgeries. It will be a 12 hour day , 7/7 a week service. In Ipswich it will include vaccination from places such as Trinity Park, as well as certain surgeries.

You are right it will take several months t9 achieve vaccination in the UK, but if you multiple what’s going to happen 8n Suffolk to other regions , I’d say by late spring a good proportion of the population will be well on the way to receiving the first doses. The more that are immunised the less transmission rates will be. Hopefully.

So today is a brand new day ....let’s get this virus back in it’s box, for good.

Michael101 added 12:47 - Dec 30
One idea being talked about ,a4week break then after every team has played everyone else once split the league's in half . the top 12 play the reverse fixtures in there half and the bottom half do the same. Biggest problem is if the team 13th after 23games is on 1goal difference won't never happy.

Linkboy13 added 13:34 - Dec 30
It's a bloody disgrace we've got a NHS that's struggling to cope yet we carry on playing football. We should go on complete lockdown for the hole of January and then access the situation.

Ipswichbusiness added 14:14 - Dec 30
Linkboy13; how would not playing football help the NHS? None of the sick players have been admitted to hospital as they are very low risk.

How do you think a four week lockdown would help? We would be in very nearly the same position on exit. Lockdowns don’t solve problems, they delay them. Even if we managed to vaccinate four million people a month, that would take five months to vaccinate 20 million people.

Saxonblue74 added 14:52 - Dec 30
Ipswichbusiness, the only thing we agree on is that lockdown only delays problems......that's exactly the aim! This thing has to be contained until the vulnerable are made safe. It's not just people who become really sick with this thing that we need to consider, transmission is the issue. I'm sure we've all heard enough about the "R" rate to understand that.

Ipswichbusiness added 15:38 - Dec 30
Saxonblue74 you have suggested a four week lockdown. Let us say it happens (the news today of a massive extension to the tier four areas is a lockdown by another name), what happens after four weeks? At best we might have managed to vaccinate 5 million out of a population of 66 million and they will be people who are elderly and/or have pre-existing medical conditions not footballers. Do we have another four weeks, then another four weeks and so on? These lockdowns have real side effects both in terms of other health conditions and financially. The virus, in its severe form, is a disease of the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions not the general population.

ArnieM added 16:37 - Dec 30
I wouldn’t be surprised if the government do indeed extend further still the LD. As you say , approx 5m people might have got vaccinated by then .... not enough to dampen the transmission rate, and people seem unwilling or unable to do as they are asked .

Saxonblue74 added 16:59 - Dec 30
Well Ipswichbusiness, so long as it's only the elderly and vulnerable dying I guess that's ok? The point you don't seem to be understanding is that transmission is the whole issue. Correct, young fit footballers will be ok, but how about the person they pass it on to?

Saxonblue74 added 17:00 - Dec 30
......I can only assume you've not been touched by this thing personally.

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