Sheffield United braced for further fixture backlog as Hull City clash latest to fall victim to Covid-19

Sheffield United will face a further backlog of fixtures in the second half of the season after Wednesday evening’s clash at home to Hull City was their latest game to fall victim to the Covid-19 situation currently playing havoc with the professional football schedule.

Tuesday, 28th December 2021, 4:20 pm

Having already seen their games against QPR and Preston North End called off this month because of a number of positive Covid-19 cases in the opposition camp, United’s home clash with Hull on Wednesday evening went the same way after City were hit by an outbreak in their dressing room.

It means that United’s next scheduled game is on New Year’s Day against Chris Wilder’s Middlesbrough and if that clash isn’t affected by coronavirus, Paul Heckingbottom’s Blades will have played once in just shy of 30 days by the time they walk out to face their former manager at Bramall Lane.

The writing was on the wall for the Hull clash as soon as their Boxing Day clash at home to Blackburn Rovers was postponed, around two hours before kick-off, after a number of positive tests were returned amongst players and coaching staff.

Sources close to City suggested as many as 20 players and staff were forced to isolate after either testing positive for the virus or being deemed as a close contact – putting Grant McCann’s side below the 14-player threshold specified by the English Football League for a game to go ahead.

It is another blow for the Blades, who had moved to within three points of the play-offs after beating Fulham before Christmas to record their fourth win in as many games.

The gates will remain locked at Bramall Lane until New Year's Day after Sheffield United's clash with Hull City became their latest game to be postponed in recent weeks (Photo by Ben Early - AMA/Getty Images)

They can make up some of that ground with a positive result on Saturday against fifth-placed Middlesbrough, who will face Blackpool on Wednesday evening unless more positive tests from either camp are returned.

“Our match at Sheffield United has been postponed due to the Tigers having an insufficient number of players available to fulfil the fixture,” a Hull statement read on Tuesday.

“The club has worked hard to ensure it has been able to play the game. However, taking into account the injuries and positive Covid-19 cases in the squad, we do not have the required numbers for the match to take place.”

“A new date for the trip to Bramall Lane will be announced in due course,” the statement added. “We apologise again for the disappointment and disruption caused.”

Paul Heckingbottom's Blades will go throughout the whole of December without playing at Bramall Lane: David Klein / Sportimage