Harrogate Town left 'extremely frustrated' as Covid-19 outbreak sees three fixtures postponed

An outbreak of Covid-19 within the Harrogate Town camp has led to the club's next three fixtures being postponed.

Monday, 9th August 2021, 9:52 pm
Updated Monday, 9th August 2021, 9:54 pm
Harrogate Town players take the field ahead of Saturday's opening-day victory over Rochdale at the EnviroVent Stadium. Pictures: Matt Kirkham

A number of members of Simon Weaver's playing squad tested positive for coronavirus on Monday, forcing the club to contact the Football League (EFL) to request their upcoming Carabao Cup game against Rochdale and League Two matches at Crawley and Leyton Orient be rearranged.

This denies the Sulphurites the chance to build on their thrilling opening-day-of-the-season victory over Rochdale and could also lead to them forfeiting their Carabao Cup first round tie, a clash that was due to take place on Tuesday evening.

"It's extremely frustrating for everyone involved - the players, the staff and the supporters," Harrogate's managing director, Garry Plant told the Harrogate Advertiser.

Harrogate Town managing director Garry Plant.

"We've just made a cracking start to the season by beating Rochdale on the opening day. We wanted to build on that result and build some momentum.

"We have been extremely disciplined when it's come to adhering to all the Covid protocols and made it through last season without having a single match postponed. Yet, now fans are allowed back inside the stadium, we've been hit by this.

"But this is a different world we're living in since the Covid rules changed. People aren't required to wear masks any more, people can get on a bus, go to the supermarket without a mask.

"This is the situation that everyone has to deal with."

Town have not confirmed how many of their players have tested positive for Covid, but the Harrogate Advertiser understands that in the region of half-a-dozen of Weaver's men are affected.

"Had it been one or two players we could and would have had to have coped, but with the number of positive test results we were left in a very difficult position," Plant added.

"The EFL have been great with us, very supportive."

A statement released by the EFL on Monday evening explained: 'Harrogate Town’s next three fixtures will not take place as scheduled due to positive cases of Covid-19 being identified within the club’s squad.

'It means a number of individuals are unable to play or train due to either a positive test or the requirement to self-isolate in line with Government and EFL guidance.

'Following discussions with the club, the league has agreed to Harrogate’s request to rearrange the league fixtures with all parties now to mutually find alternative dates which will confirmed in due course.

'In respect of rescheduling the Carabao Cup game, the league will consider any proposal put forward by the club as under the rules, if a fixture is not able to be re-arranged ahead of the following round, then a club would have to forfeit the tie.'

Carabao Cup second round fixtures are scheduled to be played on Tuesday, August 23. Thus, Town need to have played Rochdale before that date to avoid forfeiting their place in the competition.

As things stand, the Sulphurites' next game is set to take place at home to Barrow on Saturday, August 21.

Boss Weaver commented: “The Carabao Cup is an important competition for us.

"As we showed last year you are one win away from a potential televised fixture against a Premier League opponent at this stage.

“The squad will have a Zoom call tomorrow with Fitness Coach Darren Simpson with home training programmes provided for those in self-isolation.

“We proved we could do this during lockdown before, so will have to do the same again over the next ten days."