Newcastle United’s Premier League game at Everton on Thursday has been called off due to the Magpies’ shortage of available first-team players.
Cases of COVID-19 and injuries have hit Newcastle hard, which left head coach Eddie Howe with a thin squad for Monday’s game against Manchester United.
He lost forwards Callum Wilson and Allan Saint-Maximin to injury in the 1-1 draw with the Red Devils, and Howe spoke afterwards of concerns he would struggle to raise a team.
Newcastle asked the Premier League to postpone their game at Goodison Park, and the request was accepted on Tuesday.
The Premier League said in a statement: “Everton’s match against Newcastle United at Goodison Park, due to be played at 19:30 GMT on Thursday December 30, has regrettably been postponed.
“The board accepted Newcastle’s postponement application as the club does not have the required number of players available for the match [13 outfield players and one goalkeeper], due to COVID-19 cases and injuries.
“The board was able to make its decision in advance of the fixture to give clarity to the affected clubs and their fans. We apologise for the inconvenience and disruption caused to supporters’ festive plans.”
Newcastle explained their position by saying a number of players and staff had tested positive for coronavirus during routine PCR tests “in recent days”.
The club added: “Newcastle United would like to place on record its thanks to Everton FC and the Premier League for their cooperation and understanding.”