Portsmouth's potential play-off opponents Oxford's players and staff test negative for Covid-19

Oxford are gearing up for a return to training tomorrow after all players and staff tested negative for Covid-19.

Sunday, 7th June 2020, 1:45 pm
Updated Sunday, 7th June 2020, 1:45 pm

Pompey are likely to meet the U's in the League One play-offs, with the majority of clubs expected to curtail the 2019-20 season during Tuesday's EFL meeting.

If 51 per cents of third-tier sides choose to bring a premature end to the season then league positions will be decided by an unweighted points-per-game formula. Promotion and relegation will still apply.

As a result, the Blues will finish fifth and face Karl Robinson's men in the semi-finals of a traditional four-team tournament.

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Oxford had their players and staff in for testing on Friday as they prepare to return to action.

And with no-one testing positive, the Kassam Stadium outfit have now taken players off furlough leave and will begin training in small groups from Monday.

Robinson told Oxford’s official website: ‘First of all it’s great news that we have all tested negative and that everyone is safe and well. The tests were done in a totally professional manner and the results came back slightly quicker than we expected so now we go to the next phase which is to start reporting back to the training ground.

‘The players are no longer furloughed and I want to thank the board for backing us on that decision. It was done with the sole intention of giving us the best chance of being fully fit and ready when games begin again, as we believe should happen.

Pompey's Gareth Evans in action against Oxford. Picture: Graham Hunt

‘We are a long way off a full return though. Tomorrow will be done in small groups of five players, all respecting the guidelines and safely distanced from each other and the staff.

‘They will have to wash their own kit, there won’t be any group meetings or any use of the main building, so no meals prepared for them as a group. But it is a start and it will be great to be together because I think everyone has missed the fantastic atmosphere around the training ground every day.

‘There’s a serious point to be made as well, if I can, which is that although this is good news for us the pandemic still hasn’t gone away.

‘We have told the players that now they need to be more cautious than ever before and to respect all of the safety guidelines. We hope our fans will continue to do that as well.’

Pompey were eyeing coronavirus testing last week at their Hilsea training ground and are ready to begin close-contact training.

The Blues have been working within the parameters of social distancing.