ACCRINGTON Stanley have shut down their first-team operation for two weeks after eight players and a member of staff tested positive for Covid-19.

No-one is seriously ill but following the cancellation of Saturday’s game with Bristol Rovers, no players will be at the club or in training for the next fortnight.

The club’s academy operation can however continue as it is part of a separate bubble.

Manager John Coleman, who tested negative but is self-isolating, said it was now a case of the Reds doing their “duty” and following relevant EFL protocols.

He told the club website: “I have spoken to the players and some of them are asymptomatic while a few are feeling it a little bit.

“Luckily none are seriously ill but they are fit lads and we hope that will help them a bit.

“Now it’s about following protocol and keeping everyone safe and limiting the spread, that’s our duty to the general public.

“We are mindful of that which is why we consulted the EFL and tomorrow’s game is postponed.

“We also need to protect those who haven’t tested positive and we need to batten down the hatches to stop it circulating any further.

“Hopefully everyone will come back OK.”

Coleman admitted any concerns about how many games will be lost and where it will leave Stanley in League One were very much secondary to the wider public health concerns.

He said: “It’s not ideal to be missing what could be a number of games but that’s the situation which we are in.

“It’s a big blow to be playing catch-up in the league but we have to get on with it and protect the players, staff, their families and the public.

“We just have to deal with it and we will.”

Managing director David Burgess is still overseeing staff at the Wham Stadium as the non-playing operation continues.

He said: “The club has basically closed down whilst the first team players self-isolate.

"The youth team and academy are part of a separate social bubble and train at a different venue from the first team and, whilst we are keeping a close eye on everyone, they will continue to train and play their weekend games.

“All other club staff continue to operate from the Wham Stadium’s offices and retail shop, which again is separate from all first team activities.

“The club reacted quickly upon receipt of the test results on Thursday evening and completed all the necessary protocol from within its Covid Operational Policies.

“We will now keep everything closed and be ready for the first team to return in the next couple of weeks.”