Five Pompey players have tested positive for the virus and though the signs are good it is nevertheless impossible to shake the slightly unreal feeling that has enveloped the club

In the words of Joe Gallen, the Portsmouth assistant manager, the results came back in “dribs and drabs”. The League One promotion chasers had ordered 48 of their players and staff to test for Covid‑19 last Tuesday, in the wake of the club’s FA Cup meeting with Arsenal on 2 March. The Arsenal manager, Mikel Arteta, was diagnosed with the virus on 12 March, and that was really the moment when everything unravelled in English football, leading to the suspension of action.

And so, to quote Gallen again, there was “a bit of a wait for everyone”. He was in the first batch to find out last Thursday, along with nine others. Everybody was clear. But the situation darkened from Friday as the next set produced three positives, Saturday one more and Tuesday yet another. The club have said they are waiting on one last result for a member of the backroom team.

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Comments to: ‘Football does seem a bit irrelevant’: how Covid-19 left Portsmouth reeling | David Hytner

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