Premier League COVID crisis: Graham Potter's latest 'disturbing' response amid two Boxing Day call-offs

Coronavirus has accounted for two Premier League games on Boxing Day as the football schedule continues to be affected by the pandemic.

Graham Potter said Brighton's situation ahead of Wolves was disturbing
Graham Potter said Brighton's situation ahead of Wolves was disturbing

Just four of the scheduled 10 games were possible in the top flight last weekend as cases rise, with Liverpool’s clash with Leeds and Watford’s trip to Wolves now washed off the Boxing Day schedule.

Brighton and Hove Albion are due to welcome Brentford to the Amex Stadium for a Boxing Day 8pm kick-off - followed by a trips to Chelsea on December 29 and Everton on January 2.

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Graham Potter's team have previously seen fixtures against Tottenham and Man United postponed. Their match against Wolves at the Amex Stadium did go ahead despite a request from Brighton to the Premier League to postpone due to covid issues within the camp.

With a meeting of Premier League managers and players to discuss coronavirus issues planned for Thursday, the league met earlier in the day and approved the requests from Leeds and Watford to postpone the games.

Albion's match against Thomas Frank's Brentford team is still set to go ahead.

Potter said: "You can appreciate at the moment how tough it is for people who are losing jobs and businesses, you don’t want to be the Premier League team that starts to complain too much about the climate.

"But at the same time they are human beings. We had a pre-season game where we had to have three team meetings because we lost players in the build up to the game.

"So it’s got worse the last few weeks, before the Wolves game it was a little bit disturbing because so quickly we were getting consecutive days of positive tests.

"You start to think ‘when will this stop? and you wonder if you might be sending players out who are covid positive.

"It hasn’t been easy, but the guys have been really professional and as focussed as I can expect them to be as a coach and a human being. We will try our best, we will try and be competitive. We’re looking forward to playing football.

In a statement, the Premier League said: “The League aims to provide as much clarity as possible but unfortunately postponements sometimes have to be made at short notice, as safety is the priority.

“The League will endeavour to keep supporters updated if games become at risk on a matchday.

“The board concluded that Leeds United will not be able to fulfil their fixture this weekend due to the number of players with Covid-19, injuries and illness.

“The club’s training ground has also been closed after consultation with the UK Health Security Agency and the Premier League.”

The statement continued: “Watford FC continue to have an insufficient number of players to field a team after their game against Crystal Palace FC last Saturday was postponed following a Covid-19 outbreak.

“Due to players coming out of isolation, it is fully expected Watford will be available for their fixture on Tuesday 28 December against West Ham United.”

It is understood Leeds’ game with Aston Villa on December 28 is likely to be under review.

Postponements are not limited to the Premier League, with Preston’s game with Sheffield United in the Championship the latest in a growing line of EFL games to fall.