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NIFL confirm two fixtures postponed after Crusaders reveal positive coronavirus cases



Stephen Baxter

Stephen Baxter

INPHO/Presseye/Stephen Hamilton

Stephen Baxter

Two Danske Bank Premiership matches scheduled for this weekend have been postponed due to a Covid-19 outbreak.

Tonight's Carrick Rangers v Crusaders match is off as well as tomorrow's Portadown v Larne clash.

The Northern Ireland Football League said "the postponements have been requested and confirmed in line with the NI Football League's Covid Case Policy."

Crusaders said last night they had experienced two positive cases and had requested for their fixture to be postponed.

The Crues said they contacted the Irish FA and Northern Ireland Football League to request a postponement. According to the club, the positive cases arose following last Saturday's 5-0 home win over Portadown.

Ports manager Matthew Tipton was among a number of players and staff affected by an outbreak of coronavirus at the Shamrock Park club, which caused the postponement of one match and the cancellation of training for two weeks when their entire squad was forced to self isolate after losing 4-1 to Carrick last month.

Crusaders stated on its official Twitter account: "@CrusadersFC have two confirmed positive COVID cases identified by the PHA from our game v @Portadownfc on Sat 12th Dec. We are currently working with the @OfficialIrishFA, PHA and @OfficialNIFL on the cases.

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"We have made a formal request to @OfficialNIFL for our game v @CarrickRangers to be postponed under the NIFL COVID Policy guidance. @CrusadersFC wish the two players well in their recovery. Further details will follow."

After playing in a friendly against Crusaders at Seaview on Monday night, Ards have also confirmed that they will cancel tomorrow's friendly against The Drome and will not play again before Christmas.

Before news of the outbreak, Stephen Baxter declared his side's determination to halt a run of away defeats that has left them five points behind leaders Larne.

"We won at Warrenpoint, which is no easy place to go and get a result, and we won at Ballymena, which is no easy place to get a result," said Baxter.

"We lost at Linfield really, really narrowly. We were so disappointed not to get a point out of that. We lost at Larne 2-1 and we had a poor performance at Glenavon," said Baxter. "I'm not sitting screaming about it, we've won every other game, which have been at home, so we've two away wins and all our home wins.

"We've lost three games, but it is important we don't get that into heads about away performances.

"You have to win those games on the road, that is what titles are made of."

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