Sheffield United: Blades could lodge a complaint about the way games are being postponed because of Covid-19

Sheffield United are expected to voice their frustration at the way matches are being postponed because of Covid-19 during talks with the English Football League, after Paul Heckingbottom appeared to express concerns that some teams have ulterior motives for rescheduling games over the Christmas and New Year period.

Sunday, 2nd January 2022, 9:00 am

As The Star revealed last week, United are among a growing number of clubs demanding greater clarification about the criteria the EFL employ before deciding whether or not fixtures should go ahead if members report an outbreak of the virus within their squads.

Speaking before yesterday’s home game against Middlesbrough was put back at the visitors’ behest - less than 24 hours before kick-off - Heckingbottom told journalists that the situation had created a “grey area” for some of their rivals to “call games off tactically”; suggesting the system is being deliberately manipulated.

Although the United manager does not suspect his predecessor Chris Wilder, now in charge at the Riverside Stadium, of any wrongdoing, members of Bramall Lane’s coaching department clearly believe not everyone within the Championship is playing fair.

Sheffield United manager Paul Heckibgbottom is clearly annoyed about the fixture chaos caused by Covid-19 postponements: Simon Bellis / Sportimage

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"We’re talking to teams about getting games refixed in a few weeks and they are saying they won’t have enough players even though they are playing games now, it doesn’t make sense,” Heckingbottom continued.

United have won all of their last four outings, with three of those coming since Heckingbottom’s appointment, following a disappointing start to the season. But they now face a testing period after seeing meetings with Queens Park Rangers, Preston North End, Hull City and now Wilder’s side rearranged.

As well as coming at a significant financial cost, there are fears United could end up paying a high sporting price too after being robbed of the momentum they had built up under the 44-year-old.

Heckingbottom’s employers are considering outlining those concerns to the EFL, reminding the governing body they had been prepared to contest all of those matches despite reporting a number of positive tests of their own.

United are now set to return to action next weekend, when they face Wolverhampton Wanderers in the third round of the FA Cup. It will be their first competitive appearance for nearly three weeks, having beaten Fulham at Craven Cottage on December 20 thanks to Iliman Ndiaye’s superb solo strike.