Covid-19 cases force City to cancel trip to Sheffield United

Grant Hanley of Norwich and John Fleck of Sheffield United in action during the Premier League match

Norwich City will not be in action at Sheffield United on Saturday - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Norwich City have cancelled a second pre-season game following the positive Covid-19 tests which led to Wednesday’s friendly against Coventry being called off. 

The Canaries were due to be heading to Bramall Lane on Saturday to take on Sheffield United but that will not be going ahead either. 

City released a statement on Wednesday afternoon announcing that the Coventry friendly was cancelled as a “precautionary measure” following a “small number” of positive Covid-19 test results. 

A fresh statement this morning says: "Norwich City’s pre-season fixture against Sheffield United has been cancelled.

"The decision has been made following recent confirmation of a small number of positive Covid-19 test results within the Norwich City first-team group.

"As per the club’s communication on Wednesday, City’s players and staff will continue to follow Premier League protocols and government guidelines, operating and training within their respective first-team bubble at the Lotus Training Centre.

"Those supporters who purchased a match ticket for the fixture will be automatically issued a refund on to their payment card.

"An automatic refund will also be issued to those supporters who have purchased a live streaming match pass for the fixture."

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City have not released the names of the players or staff who have tested positive this week.

While the game against Coventry was due to be played behind closed doors, home and away tickets had gone on sale for the Bramall Lane friendly, with City also offering an online live stream of both matches.

Angus Gunn and Jacob Sorensen had missed the 2-0 pre-season win over Huddersfield at Colney on Friday as they started self-isolation following positive tests. 

Daniel Farke’s squad were due to be basing themselves at a hotel in Yorkshire this week but following the additional positive tests, it was decided it was in the best interests of all involved for City to return to Norfolk. 

That was bearing in mind both the Coventry players and staff - with the Sky Blues' first competitive games less than 10 days away - as well as staff at Chesterfield, whose Technique Stadium was due to host that friendly.

Norwich have returned to the Lotus Training Centre, where regular Covid-19 tests will be used to bring the outbreak under control. 

While the friendly against the Blades will not go ahead on Saturday, it’s expected that those cleared to continue with pre-season training will proceed with intense fitness work ahead of the Premier League opener against Liverpool on Saturday, August 14. 

Sheffield United’s competitive opener is on August 7, at home to Birmingham, so the Blades will also have been very wary of any of their players picking up the virus so close to the Championship kick-off. 

Slavisa Jokanovic's squad have had coronavirus issues of their own during pre-season, cutting short a training camp in Spain and having to self-isolate, but they resumed with a 4-0 win at Doncaster last night.

The Blades have announced they are now looking for new opposition for Saturday.

It’s understood that City's decision was made with the intention of ensuring that Tuesday’s friendly against League One side Gillingham can go ahead at Carrow Road.

The Canaries are then due to complete pre-season against Premier League rivals Newcastle United on Saturday, August 7, at St James’ Park. 

City's troubles come amid issues for several clubs during pre-season, with Nottingham Forest having to cancel their game at Aston Villa on Wednesday due to a small number of Covid-19 cases.

Arsenal also had to cancel a pre-season camp in the USA and Swansea had to call off a friendly against Bristol Rovers at the weekend.

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