Sunderland postpone Accrington Stanley clash due to ongoing impact of COVID-19 outbreak

Sunderland have postponed their League One clash with Accrington Stanley on Tuesday night due to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 outbreak at the club.

Sunday, 27th December 2020, 11:20 am

The Black Cats have had thirteen positive cases in their playing staff, including all three goalkeepers.

A number of senior players self-isolating would have only been able to rejoin the group on the day of the game itself.

The club have therefore postponed a fourth fixture, citing the ‘health and wellbeing of all effected.’

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Sunderland have been forced to postpone another League One fixture

A club statement said: “Scheduled to take place on Tuesday 29 December, the club has informed the EFL that it will be unable to play the fixture due to the ongoing effects of a Covid-19 outbreak at the Academy of Light.

“Due to the scale of this outbreak and the volume of positive tests returned by players and staff, the club has taken the decision to postpone the game based solely on the health and wellbeing of all effected.

“Lee Johnson’s side are now set to return to action in the New Year, kicking off 2021 with a trip to Northampton Town on Saturday 2 January (KO 3pm).”

The EFL have confirmed that the postponement will now be the subject of an investigation, in line with standard proceedures.

The League One fixture list has been severely affected by a number of outbreaks within the division, with only six fixtures proceeding as planned on Boxing Day.

Ipswich Town, one of the clubs to have suffered an outbreak, had called for a brief break from action but it’s understood that there are no plans from the EFL to do so at this stage.

Sunderland head coach Lee Johnson revealed last week the scale of the outbreak on Wearside.

"It's been a tough moment for us, it's definitely been a hurdle," he told the #SAFCUnfiltered podcast.

"I think we've ended up with about 13 players testing positive for COVID-19. Not all of those have had symptoms.

"A couple of those struggled, in terms of it's taken longer than they had hoped to get over. We're just monitoring them all as much as possible, and obviously our thoughts are with them and their families because for a couple of them, their families have picked it up as well.

"It's been tough because it's unprecedented times and we just don't know it's going to affect their lung capacity or anything else moving forward.

"[The Accrington game] It depends on when we get back to action," Johnson added.

"First and foremost, our three goalkeepers have all tested positive. So that leaves us in a bit of a pickle, depending on how we recover.

"One in particular has struggled quite a lot and the health and wellbeing of a player has to be at the front of any decision that is made.

"We've also got four senior players who are only able to come out of their isolation on the matchday of the 29th.”

The postponements have seen Sunderland drop to 11th in the League One table, four points off the play-off places and seven points off the top two.

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