Interim manager Wayne Rooney and his entire Derby County first-team squad are self-isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak and will miss their FA Cup third-round match at Chorley.
Several Derby players and staff tested positive for the virus on Monday, leading to the closure of the second-tier Championship club’s Moor Farm training ground, media reports in England said.
Academy director Darren Wassall will now take charge of a side made up of youth-team players for the potential banana-skin tie against the minnows of sixth-tier Chorley.
League One club Shrewsbury Town have also reported several positive tests among their squad which is scheduled to travel to Premier League Southampton in the FA Cup on Saturday.
COVID-19 outbreaks have led to four Premier League matches being postponed and more than 50 games in the lower divisions of the English Football League (EFL) have been called off this season.
Premier League teams are now being tested twice a week even as a new national COVID-19 lockdown was announced on Monday due to surging infections in the country, caused by a more contagious variant of the virus.
The EFL also announced on Wednesday that twice-weekly COVID-19 testing would be introduced for all 72 clubs in the second, third and fourth divisions next week, with the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) funding the tests.
“Football has provided temporary relief for many fans during the lockdown,” PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor said.
“We believe that this comprehensive and expansive approach to testing will help support clubs and be an important factor in maintaining fixtures and ensuring that football can continue during this challenging period.”