Newcastle United have confirmed that Karl Darlow has tested positive for Covid-19 during routine testing.
Darlow will be self-isolating for 10 days along with both Freddie Woodman and Mark Gillespie leaving Newcastle short on goalkeepers for the two friendlies on Sunday as well as next Friday’s match at Doncaster.
Due to this, tomorrow’s plans for a split-squad action at both York City and Harrogate Town have been altered. The Newcastle first-team will face York City while the U23 squad will travel to Harrogate Town.
Here is an email from Newcastle confirming the positive test.
#NUFC can confirm that Karl Darlow has received a positive Covid-19 test result during routine testing at our pre-season training camp.
A first team squad will now face York City tomorrow while an U23 squad will travel to Harrogate Town to minimise mixing between groups.
— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) July 17, 2021
This is terrible news and has seen Newcastle’s pre-season plans derailed in just the second week. Newcastle were the first Premier League club to have to postpone a match last season when the squad was hit with an outbreak.
It resulted in a terrible downturn in form as Allan Saint-Maximin, Jamaal Lascelles, and Federico Fernandez all struggled to recover from the virus. Now Newcastle are without four first-team goalkeepers with Darlow, Gillespie, and Woodman all in quarantine for the next week and a half.
First-choice goalkeeper Martin Dubravka could be lost until after the first internal break in September with a broken metatarsal. Newcastle have yet to confirm the extent of Dubravka’s injury or a timeframe for his return.
It appears that 20-year-old Dan Langley will be the starting goalkeeper at York City. The local lad has been spotted training with the first team in training camp. Either Jake Turner or Will Brown will likely get the nod at Harrogate Town.
This is another blow for Steve Bruce and Newcastle in preparations for the upcoming season. Bruce said the following about Darlow’s positive test:
“Unfortunately, Karl Darlow has tested positive for Covid-19 and it has affected the goalkeepers, with Mark Gillespie and Freddie Woodman coming into relatively close contact and needing to self-isolate.
“Thankfully, everyone else has been tested again and all those test results were negative.
“Because there has been a positive case, a first-team group will travel to York on Sunday and the match at Harrogate will now be made up of under 23s players.
“I have spoken to Simon Weaver, who was very understanding, and I would like to apologize to any Harrogate supporters who have bought tickets thinking first-team players were coming.
“Ultimately, we have to follow the advice from medical professionals and take proactive steps to protect players and we simply can’t mix up the dressing rooms, which was our initial plan.”
We wish Darlow a swift recovery and hopefully, the club have caught this quickly so no other players or staff will be affected.