Manchester United have been left with no other choice but to call off Saturday’s friendly at Preston after a ‘small number’ of the first-team training group tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday.
In United’s previous pre-season fixture, against Brentford, the lads welcomed back home support to Old Trafford before playing out a 2-2 draw with the newly promoted Premier League side.
The squad underwent tests on Thursday and a number of positives were returned.
All players suspected to have the virus are now isolating as they await confirmation from PCR tests.
This has led to the decision to call off the friendly against Preston North End at Deepdale which was due to kick-off on Saturday afternoon.
United issued a statement on Thursday night which read (via ManUtd.com): “Maintaining Covid security is a priority for us. Following routine testing of the first team training group today, we have identified a small number of suspected positive cases. This has led to those people isolating, pending further tests.
“As a precautionary measure based on COVID protocols, we have taken the difficult decision that we will not now be able to play the friendly match against Preston North End this Saturday.
“We regret the disruption to Preston and disappointment caused to fans. Any Manchester United fans who have purchased tickets for the game will be automatically refunded.
“At this stage, we do not expect further disruption around our forthcoming matches, but we will continue to follow Premier League protocols in this regard.”
While it’s a blow for the players hoping to gain more fitness over the weekend, most of United’s key players won’t be returning to training until Monday, so the pre-season has seen a number of fringe players and academy graduates get opportunities under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.