TWELVE Oxford United players are self-isolating following three coronavirus cases in the first-team squad.

The club's latest round of lateral flow tests last weekend returned three positive results, which were each confirmed by PCR tests the same day.

Those players must self-isolate for ten days from the date of the swabs, although none have fallen ill.

Nine teammates who were in close proximity to the trio in training are also self-isolating as a precaution, with everyone else involved in the first-team set-up since testing negative.

Despite this, United’s friendly against Hayes & Yeading United at Thame United this evening will go ahead following talks with both clubs, albeit with a younger squad.

The club’s Covid protocols have been subject to an investigation by the English Football League and Health England since the positive tests were recorded, with all parties happy the U's were following the rules correctly.

United’s full statement said: "Oxford United will adhere to all current Covid-19 protocols and regulations after three positive test results among the playing staff.

"All players and first team staff are tested on a regular basis and unfortunately three players tested positive in the latest round of lateral tests.

"This was confirmed by PCR tests the same day and those three players must now self isolate for ten days from the date of the tests.

"The club has maintained strict distancing rules at training and on matchdays to limit the amount of contact time all staff have with each other and monitors are used in training and matchdays to check the proximity of players for any period of time.

"Unfortunately some contact time is inevitable and as a result a further nine players will now have to self-isolate as a precaution.

"This has been reported to Health England and the EFL and a thorough investigation of club protocols has been carried out with all relevant parties happy that all rules have been carefully followed.

"We must stress that none of the players affected have become ill but precautions must be taken and the remaining players will continue to train and play matches while following government and EFL guidelines.

"The club has spoken with Hayes and Yeading, and with Thame United to explain the situation and tonight’s friendly at Thame goes ahead as planned."

Tomorrow’s fixture at Banbury United is also set to go ahead as planned, but no decision has yet been made about Saturday’s friendly at Birmingham City or the double-header against Peterborough United next Tuesday.

United's players have changed and eaten in small groups at their training ground since the pandemic began, to limit the amount of contact between players.

It is understood the three positive cases all came from separate groups, meaning the three other players in those groups are also self-isolating.

The positive tests came after the friendlies against Oxford City and Salford City on Friday and Saturday respectively.

David Oldfield's squad will be swabbed before training tonight as they are prior to every session and match, which the club have taken it upon themselves to do even though it is not a league requirement.

The U's are the latest of several teams hit by the virus in pre-season, with Blackpool forced to cancel yesterday's friendly with Rangers due to an 'ongoing Covid-19 related issue'.

Cases across the country have risen in recent weeks alongside a 'pingdemic', where hundreds of thousands of people have been told to stay at home by the NHS Covid app after coming into contact with those who had the virus.