Barnsley skipper ruled out of City trip due to coronavirus
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Barnsley captain Alex Mowatt and team mates Conor Chaplin, Brad Collins and George Miller will not be involved at Norwich City due to 'Covid-related' issues.
Tykes' boss Valerien Ismael confirmed the quartet will be absent for Saturday's Championship trip to Carrow Road at his pre-match press call on Friday morning.
Mowatt scored the winner in the midweek 2-1 victory at Rotherham United, but Ismael confirmed both the midfielder and Collins have returned positive tests. Chaplin and Miller will not be involved as they have been in contact with a person who has tested positive for coronavirus.
“It is a blow and they will be big misses for us," said Ismael. " But it is an opportunity for others now, and will also allow Alex especially a chance to breathe, to rest because he's put a lot of work in recently.
“We have excellent protocols at Barnsley, our Head Physio, Craig Sedgwick reacted brilliantly and did a great job in limiting the spread and we believe we can play on.”
Mowatt has been a driving force from central midfield in Barnsley's impressive first half of the campaign. The 25-year-old former Leeds trainee has scored four goals in 22 league appearances.
At this stage, the game is expected to go ahead. The Canaries have made no official announcement, with head coach Daniel Farke set to face the media virtually from Colney on Friday afternoon to preview the club's first scheduled game of 2021.
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The Football League only published fresh guidance in the past two days regarding their protocols around postponing fixtures in the pandemic.
'Under EFL regulations, it is the responsibility of each club to inform the league that a fixture(s) cannot be fulfilled. All circumstances surrounding a club request are then subject to investigation in accordance with EFL regulations, with each dealt with on a case-by-case basis under the guidance of team doctors and EFL medical officers.
'The EFL will work with the affected clubs to re-arrange any displaced fixtures at the earliest opportunity.'
The Football League have also clarified their current position amid growing calls across the game for a 'circuit break' pause due to the escalating infection rates across the country.
'There are no plans to introduce so called ‘circuit breaker’ to the league competition either on a divisional or league-wide basis. We have always remained committed to delivering matches as long as it is safe to do so and have implemented stringent protocols at clubs to help mitigate against the spread of infection.
'These are regularly reviewed and updated by our medical advisors and have recently been further strengthened in conjunction with the clubs.
'Football has played an important role during the pandemic, both in respect of supporting local communities and individuals’ mental health. We all want matches to continue as long as it is safe, which has been the approach from the outset.'
The next phase of mandatory testing for all Football League players is scheduled from next week. Clubs must also carry out testing of players if any individual displays symptoms in line with government guidance.
Championship clubs previously carried out testing of all players, coaches and staff on their return from international breaks in October and November last year.
Barnsley's Yorkshire rivals, Rotherham, had to cancel league games against Derby and Middlesbrough due to coronavirus. Millers' boss Paul Warne made it clear prior to the midweek derby he he did not want to play the fixture.