Sheffield United against Preston North End on Boxing Day has been called off. The clash at Deepdale has been given the same treatment as many EFL games recently, with North End presenting positive Covid-19 cases.
The news will be a blow to the Blades and manager Paul Heckingbottom. Off the back of a brilliant 1-0 win at Fulham, the Blades boss will have wanted to carry on the momentum. Of course, it could also give United the chance to get a few extra days rest and training in. The Blades host Hull on the 29th, while Chris Wilder returns on New Years day.
But when will the fixture with Preston be played? Well, we’ve taken a look at the fixture calendars of both teams to see when the Blades and the Lilywhite can squeeze this latest cancellation in.
When Sheffield United Could Play Preston After Covid Cancellation
Obviously, the fixtures will begin to pile up for clubs if these postponements continue. The good thing for Championship clubs, is that they’re used to playing twice a week. So fitting a game in between weekends shouldn’t, in theory, be an issue.
The most obvious opening in the immediate future for Sheffield United against Preston is the first week in January. But the problem that week lies with Preston playing Stoke on Monday 3rd January. United are at home to Boro on the 1st, while both teams are in FA Cup action on the 9th. However, a Wednesday/Thursday fixture shouldn’t be discounted.
Beyond that, there is a free week between the 15th and 22nd of January. In reality, that is probably the most likely destination for Preston against United. Likewise, the following week is weekend to weekend, with no midweek match.
The EFL need to try and find a way to get a lid on this situation. Of course, Covid cases will continue to spiral and measures have returned at clubs to help prevent the spread. But teams could end up being three, four, or even five games behind. And fitting those in, could be a real issue for teams.