PREMIER LEAGUE

Stoke City manager tests positive for coronavirus

Michael O'Neil
photo credit: skysports

Stoke City manager Michael O’Neill has tested positive for coronavirus, the Championship club announced on Tuesday.

The former Northern Ireland boss returned the adverse result during the sixth round of testing as England’s second tier gears up to relaunch next week.

O’Neill, 50, had tested negative in the previous five round.

Confirming the news, Stoke said in a statement on Tuesday: “He will now follow the relevant guidance and undergo a period of isolation, whilst continuing to be in regular virtual contact with his coaching staffs and players.”

Assistant manager Billy McKinlay will take charge of Stoke’s preparations to face Reading on June as O’Neill stays away.

Following his appointment last November, with the Potters at the bottom of the Championship table, O’Neill inspired a turnaround in fortunes to lift the team up to 17 places.

The threat of relegation remains, as Stoke sit three points better off third-bottom Charlton Athletic with nine matches still to play for the season.

Stoke City had a friendly with Manchester United on Tuesday, but the match was cancelled after a member of the Championship club tested positive for coronavirus.

United arranged the game with the Championship side at their Carrington training base as they prepare for the restart of the Premier League, but the fixture was quickly cancelled after Stoke were informed of the positive test by the EFL.

Stoke’s players had already arrived at Carrington after travelling separately but were told to return home before kickoff.

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