Coach John Aloisi is uncertain whether Western United’s New Years Day clash with Western Sydney Wanderers will go ahead as planned as both A-League Men teams deal with COVID-19 cases in their playing ranks.
Nine United players were unavailable for their Boxing Day loss to Melbourne Victory as either cases or close contacts.
Captain Alessandro Diamanti was one of two new cases, while four players were close contacts.
United had three previous positive cases: one who returned to training this week and two who were due to come out of isolation on Sunday.
Aloisi said the APL had spoken to United about postponing the Victory game but they’d wanted to play.
The Wanderers have also confirmed COVID-19 cases, with their Boxing Day clash with Newcastle postponed.
“(The Wanderers game) I’m unsure of. Not so much from our group or from where we’re at. A little bit from Western Sydney Wanderers and the whole situation in Sydney,” Aloisi said.
“That’s more for the club and the APL to discuss – my understanding is that Western Sydney Wanderers have quite a few players that are out because of it – and if it’s a risk for us to keep on moving forward because we’re going to have more players.
“The risk is always going to be there but we knew it was more of a controlled risk today.”
Aloisi was uncertain whether players who had just returned from 10 days’ isolation would even be fit to play on January 1, given their limited training.
Melbourne City’s six COVID-19 cases saw their December 27 game against Brisbane Roar postponed, while Sydney FC were without Bobo and Elvis Kamsoba for their win over Macarthur FC.
“We had three out with COVID-19 and a couple will probably be another week or so. It is a (trap door) under every game,” Sydney coach Steve Corica said.
“We’ve had injuries this year and then add COVID to the mix and three players go down in the space of a week and things can turn around quite quickly.
“It’s difficult at the moment when you get a few cases, you wonder if any of the other boys will get it as well.
“We want them to stay at home as much as possible but it is difficult because we want them to have lives as well.”
Melbourne Victory had their FFA Cup round of 16 match against Gold Coast Knights postponed last week but coach Tony Popovic said there was a possibility it could happen this week.