What's next for Portsmouth after players and staff test negative for Covid-19

Pompey will aim to step up their training programme after all players and staff tested negative for coronavirus.

Sunday, 7th June 2020, 7:58 pm
Updated Sunday, 7th June 2020, 8:40 pm

The EFL have confirmed that nobody of 135 individuals from four League One clubs tested positive last week.

It comes after the Blues applied to join the Football League’s Return to Play protocol.

Oxford have stated they had no positive cases, while it is believed Fleetwood and Wycombe – who also look set to compete in the play-offs as the 2019-20 season heads for curtailment – are the others.

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Ben Close and Bryn Morris involved in training at Pompey's training base in Hilsea. Picture: Habibur Rahman

An EFL statement read: ‘Following the first round of Covid-19 testing in League One, the EFL can confirm that 135 players and Club staff were tested from four League One Clubs over the course of Wednesday 3 June, Thursday 4 June, Friday 5 June and Saturday 6 June with zero individuals testing positive.’

Kenny Jackett's men will now target moving to phase two of the government’s return to training guidance for elite sport, which will allow for close contact at their Hilsea base.

Members of Pompey’s squad have already been training in small groups, with social distancing being kept at all times.

It’s looking increasingly likely the Blues will return to action this season amid the Covid-19 outbreak, with the play-offs in the offing.

EFL members will meet on Tuesday to vote on how to finish the campaign, with the majority of League One clubs favouring curtailment.

Therefore, league positions look set to be decided by an unweighted points-per-game formula, with promotion and relegation still applying.

That’ll see Jackett’s side finishing fifth and facing fourth-placed Oxford in the play-off semi-finals.

The winners will then meet either Wycombe or Fleetwood for the final place in the Championship alongside Coventry and Rotherham.

In March, five Pompey players – James Bolton, Andy Cannon, Haji Mnoga, Ross McCrorie and Sean Raggett – tested positive for the virus. All have all made full recoveries.