By Jamie Gardner, PA Chief Sports Reporter
Southampton have sought clarity from the Premier League over its decision to postpone Sunday’s match against Newcastle, the PA news agency understands.
The game at St Mary’s has been postponed due to ongoing coronavirus cases and injuries among the Magpies squad.
Saints are understood to be frustrated by Newcastle’s inability to field a team, having been forced to use fringe and youth-team players in matches themselves over the last year.
𝗚𝗔𝗠𝗘 𝗢𝗙𝗙 ❌#NUFC's fixture against Southampton at St. Mary's on Sunday has been postponed due to ongoing Covid-19 cases and injuries amongst the Magpies’ first team squad.
— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) December 31, 2021
The club were particularly low on senior numbers when they were thrashed 9-0 at Manchester United in February.
The Premier League said on Friday that its board had accepted Newcastle did not have the required number of available players to fulfil the fixture – 13 outfield players and a goalkeeper.
Under-21 players who have senior experience must also be included when assessing the eligible personnel available.
The Magpies’ match against Everton, scheduled for Thursday night, was called off earlier this week.
The Southampton-Newcastle fixture is the second in matchweek 21 to be postponed, following the decision on Thursday night to postpone the Leicester v Norwich game on New Year’s Day.
Top-flight clubs have stepped up their Covid-19 protocols, including daily testing for players and club staff.
Despite that, a record 103 cases were confirmed last week.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp revealed the club were awaiting PCR confirmation of three new Covid cases among the playing group, with further positives within the coaching staff.
The German said the situation was “not cool” but that the Reds were not close to requesting their match at Chelsea on Sunday be postponed.
The Premier League later announced rearranged dates for matches that had been postponed earlier in December.
Two matches due to be played on December 18th – Southampton v Brentford and West Ham v Norwich – have been rescheduled for January 11th and 12th respectively.
The Everton v Leicester match, originally scheduled for December 19th, will be played on January 11th.