Man Utd and Sheffield United COULD take place at Old Trafford, The Star can confirm, despite neutral venue claims

Sheffield United’s Premier League away game against Manchester United could still take place at Old Trafford, The Star has learned, contrary to reports the authorities have demanded a switch to a neutral venue.

Tuesday, 2nd June 2020, 10:35 am

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) last night confirmed no final decision has been taken on where the game will be staged, revealing work remains on-going to ascertain if the fixture can go ahead at the home of the 20-time English champions as initially planned.

Nick Bailey, GMP’s Assistant Chief Constable, acknowledged several potential issues surrounding the match had been identified at the initial planning stage. Revealing discussions about those remain on-going, he insisted his force would “support” whatever decision the local Safety Advisory Group (SAG) reaches.

Top-flight football in England is scheduled to return to action on June 17; more than three months after competition was suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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“Due to GMP having two Premier League clubs within our force area, we were asked to assess the risks posed in the remaining home fixtures for both Manchester City and Manchester United in the environment of Covid-19, before offering our findings to the wider national discussion with the NPCC (National Police Chiefs’ Council), the Government and the Premier League,” ACC Bailey said. “Whilst all games are routinely risk-assessed in advance - with the health and safety of all those involved being the main priority - our considerations in the current climate present a different dimension and we have to ensure that government regulations and guidelines will be adhered to.”

“We have identified three games in our force area that present factors which need further consideration, and GMP is working with both clubs and the relevant Safety Advisory Groups to assess if we can safely facilitate the playing of these matches are their intended locations.

“A decision will be made by the SAG’s in due course and we will support whichever outcome is decided.”

Membership of SAG’s includes local authority staff, as well as representatives from the fire, ambulance and police services.

Chris Wilder, the Sheffield United manager, has guided his team to seventh in the Premier League table with 10 games of their season remaining: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

United’s meeting with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side could have a huge bearing on the outcome of the race for a place in next season’s Champions League, with only two points separating the teams in the table. Wilder’s side, in seventh, will move above their namesakes from the North-West if they win their game in hand at Aston Villa next month and close the gap between themselves and fourth-placed Chelsea to only two points with nine matches remaining.

Goalkeeper Dean Henderson, on loan from Manchester United, will not be eligible for selection against his parent club - with either Simon Moore or Michael Verrips, a former Holland under-20 international, set to deputise for the 23-year-old. Moore featured when Solskjaer’s men drew 3-3 at Bramall Lane earlier this term. But the Dutchman has been a regular feature on the bench since his colleague, previously of Cardiff City, Bristol City and Brentford, suffered an injury during training before Christmas.

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Sheffield United could still face Manchester United at Old Trafford, Greater Manchester Police have told The Star: Nigel French/PA Wire.

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Sheffield United's players hope to be pointing the way to Europe when the Premier League season is concluded: Simon Bellis/Sportimage
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the manager of Manchester United: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images