Blow for Sheffield United's opening-day opponents Birmingham City, as goalkeeper Neil Etheridge is hospitalised with Covid-19

Neil Etheridge, the Birmingham City goalkeeper scheduled to face Sheffield United on the first day of the new Championship season, is in hospital receiving treatment for Covid-19, the club have confirmed.

By Danny Hall
Wednesday, 14th July 2021, 11:10 am

The 31-year-old Philippines international had recently reported back for pre-season training with the Blues.

Blues technical director Craig Gardner said: "On behalf of the board, the staff, the players and everyone connected to the club, we're all behind Neil and willing him on in his battle against Covid-19

"We're in constant contact with his close family and will continue to support them in any way we can.

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"He's in the best possible hands and we're hopeful we can all welcome him home at the earliest opportunity."

Etheridge made 43 appearances last season after joining the club from Cardiff.

A tweet from the club read: "The club can confirm that [Etheridge] is currently receiving treatment in hospital for Covid-19. Everyone at #BCFC is sending him all our strength and best wishes."

Neil Etheridge of Birmingham City (Jan Kruger/Getty Images)