Preston North End have received a positive Covid-19 test following their return to full-contact training, muddling their plans for the Championship’s return later this month.
The latest update comes after the EFL announced plans on Sunday for the Championship to return on 20 June, three days after the Premier League is scheduled to make its comeback from a three-month hiatus.
But, with the Daily Mail reporting a positive test in the Preston camp after Championship clubs were permitted to begin contact training from Tuesday – with Leeds returning as well – questions over the viability of Project Restart will certainly be raised once more.
It’s believed their full-contact session was staged before the latest round of Covid-19 results had been returned by club doctors, but the identity of the player who tested positive remains unknown at this stage.
It’s the second confirmed case of the virus at Deepdale following the announcement of striker Jayden Stockley’s positive test on Saturday. Stockley was involved in a non-contact training session the previous day.
And following the latest update, any members of the Preston squad who have come into contact with the virus will now have to self-isolate for 14 days per the government’s ‘track and trace’ guidelines.
Thus, several members of the Preston squad will likely have just four days of full training ahead of their return to action, with an away trip to Luton Town set to be Alex Neil’s side’s first game back.
The Lilywhites currently sit sixth in the Championship table, with hope of securing their maiden top-flight berth since 1960 via the play-offs at the end of the season. However, with some players potentially ill-prepared for the second tier’s return, their play-off bid could take an early blow.
Neil’s men will also meet fellow promotion hunters Brentford, Nottingham Forest and Bristol City in three of their remaining nine league games.