The Star was today told that members of Paul Heckingbottom’s squad will now be allocated individual hotel rooms on overnight stays ahead of away matches, such as the one they are scheduled to contest at Fulham next week.
Two coaches rather than one are also being used to transport players to games, with social distancing rules around their training complex at Shirecliffe also being reinforced.
Far from being a response to events on Sunday, when United discovered their meeting with QPR would not be going ahead as planned, Bramall Lane’s in-house medical team, one of whom advises the sport’s governing bodies on such matters, issued Heckingbottom and his staff with a revised set of guidelines before the English Football League published their own updated advice before the latest round of competition.
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United, who could have climbed to eighth had they beaten Warburton’s side, are understood to be training as normal despite concerns about the Omnicron variant’s level of transmission. Pre-match media conferences, such as the one which saw Heckingbottom and midfielder Conor Hourihane speak to journalists on Thursday afternoon, also remain unaffected for the time being.
However, masks are now being worn during large scale inside gatherings at the complex, such as team meetings to discuss tactics or opposition analysis sessions.
United first got wind of a problem involving QPR just hours before the EFL were due to travel to South Yorkshire, with the club’s hierarchy first being told there was a potential issue before learning the televised encounter was definitely being rearranged at the visitors’ request.
Talks about a new date have yet to take place, with some involved in the process feeling it is better to wait and see how the nationwide situation develops before a decision is made.
In the Premier League, Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United and Aston Villa have also been affected in recent days as concerns about the virus’ impact grow.