Wanderers have taken the decision to temporarily close their training ground as they look to deal with the COVID-19 outbreak which has forced the postponement of successive home games.
Wanderers’ Boxing Day fixture against Morecambe followed the scheduled game against Wycombe Wanderers in being called off due to the number of COVID cases in the Whites’ camp.
A total of 14 players and four staff – including manager Ian Evatt – have given positive tests with training now suspended until 27 December.
“We’ve had to close Lostock,” confirmed Evatt, who recorded a positive test earlier this week despite having had double vaccination and a booster jab.
“We’ve had to take that decision because it’s literally running through everybody like wildfire.
“Some people have no symptoms at all, some have been quite poorly with it.
“It’s difficult and it’s frustrating but there’s nothing we can really do about it.”
Wanderers are due to play next at Burton Albion on Wednesday, 29 December – although Evatt admits fulfilling the fixture would place a strain on his squad if the EFL give the game the go-ahead.
He added: “If we are following government guidelines and protocol, we will have the majority available or back out of quarantine for the 27th when Lostock will re-open and then we’ll have a couple more out the following day providing they test negative on lateral flow.
“I do think there has to be an element of common sense and fairness.
“You are asking a squad of players and staff to rock up back to training, train one or two days and go straight into a first-team game.
“We are already limited on numbers with injuries and I think that’s a real risk to have further injuries.
“We will be in dialogue with the EFL, but as the rules stand, if we are strictly going black and white, it would be that we would have to play at Burton.”
Evatt is not in favour of a circuit break in the fixture list, given the potential for further COVID issues at clubs further down the line.
But he knows the impact of calling off games will be potentially damaging as he calls for everyone connected with Wanderers to pull together to make the second half of the season a successful one.
“It’s a huge financial hit – especially the Boxing Day fixture. We’d have had back-to-back home games,” said Evatt.
“It’s not good. It’s not ideal but there’s nothing we can really do about it.
“The main thing we can do, on my part as the manager and the rest of the players, is when we return we gain results and we start to win games consistently.
“That will get our fans back on board and hopefully when these games are re-arranged we can have a similar crowd because that will benefit everybody.
“We spoke about it with the injury list and what had happened and we’re now speaking about it with the COVID situation.
“We have to have that siege mentality that we need everybody. We need the fans’ support. We need their backing and we need their financial backing because it will benefit everybody in the long term.”