Fleetwood game in doubt as Ipswich Town Covid-19 cases rise to 11

General view of the Portman Road pitch. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com

Ipswich Town's game at Fleetwood on January 2 is now in doubt after three more players tested positive for Covid-19. Photo: Steve Waller

Ipswich Town's game at Fleetwood on January 2 is now in doubt after three more players tested positive for Covid-19.

The Blues had last weekend's game at Peterborough postponed due to a combination of the hosts having a Covid-19 case and several Blues players reporting symptoms.

Town manager Paul Lambert has tested positive for coronavirus

Paul Lambert is among 11 staff and players at Ipswich Town to have tested positive for coronavirus. Photo: Steve Waller - Credit: Steve Waller

Manager Paul Lambert and five players showed positive after the first-team squad were tested last Friday. Lee O’Neill, general manager of football operations, and another player then tested positive at the start of the week, with the decision made to postpone scheduled festive fixtures against Northampton (home on Boxing Day) and AFC Wimbledon (away on Tues, Dec 29).

A second round of testing was carried out yesterday and three more people have returned positive results - two players and a member of the academy staff - taking the total number of cases in the camp to 11 (three staff, eight players).

The Blues, who were already dealing with a lengthy injury list, now say they are considering whether to postpone their scheduled 2021 curtain-raiser at Fleetwood.

Town physio Matt Byard and boss Lambert have called for the League One season to be paused and extended into the summer as Covid-19 cases increase across the country. Peterborough, Sunderland, Portsmouth and Bristol Rovers have all had to postpone games due to outbreaks in their camps.

Byard said: “From the second round of testing, we have two more first-team players who have tested positive and a member of the academy coaching staff.

"So we now have 11 positive cases in total and they are all following the Government guidelines and are self-isolating for a minimum of 10 days.

“In addition we have two players who are symptomatic although they have tested negative at this stage and we also have five football staff members who are self-isolating having been in close contact with someone who has tested positive.   

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“The training ground will remain closed and a deep clean will take place of all facilities at Playford Road.

“Players who have tested negative will train independently and away from the club until further notice.”

Town's home match against Northampton has already been re-arranged for Tuesday, February 16.

With Suffolk moving into Tier 4 of the government's Covid-19 restrictions on Boxing Day, the Blues will be back playing behind-closed-doors again for the foreseeable future.

If the Fleetwood match is postponed, the Blues won't be in action again until Saturday, January 9, when Swindon are due at Portman Road.

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