Watford team in disarray but Premier League claims we are ready to start

Watford manager Nigel Pearson has revealed a further two squad players are now self-isolating after members of their family tested positive for Covid-19. Adrian Mariappa, alongside two staff members, tested positive for the virus following the Premier League’s first round of testing earlier this week. Club captain Troy Deeney – alongside a number of squad members – are also staying away from training amid safety concerns.

“The testing situation is obviously to minimise risk, so for the players and staff who have been in this week statistically they should be a lot safer but it is still a surprise for those who have tested positive,” boss Pearson told reporters.

“They’re all feeling OK, and likewise for their families as well. That is important for us to make sure that those people – their health is OK. In addition to that we’ve had a couple more people who have to be in isolation because they’ve been in close contact with people who have tested positive, even though their own result came back negative. I think that shows the types of complications that we’ve got. Today everybody has been tested again, we were tested on Friday morning, and we await further results over the weekend now. It is just something we have got to get used to. We are trying, as everybody will be, to establish what is now a more normal working practice in the circumstances that we have. That is what we have got to work with. But they’re OK.

Premier League : CONFIDENT’ OF RETURN – But no crowds till end of this year

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters insists they are “as confident as we can be” about restarting in June. He said the Prem would be “flexible” about a restart date, having previously targeted June 12 after the coronavirus pandemic halted action on March 13. Masters told the BBC: “There is some momentum. We’ve taken the first step.

“It’s great for everybody, including the fans, to see our players back on the training ground.” 

He said the Prem would learn from the Bundesliga’s return last weekend, which went smoothly despite being behind closed doors. British football could even be played out to empty stands until next year.

Liverpool are top of the table with a 25-point lead over Manchester City. Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said on Wednesday that the return of contact training in elite sports could get government approval “later this week”.