A NUMBER of Reading FC players have been struck down with coronavirus after their Christmas party - leaving Saturday's clash against Luton Town hanging in the balance, The Chronicle understands.

Reading is set to play at home this weekend to a packed-out crowd to mark its 150th anniversary.

But there is now uncertainty about whether the match will go ahead. 

Today (Tuesday, December 14), Reading’s Bearwood training base was closed as more than four players tested positive for Covid. 

Royal Borough Observer: Reading is set to play to a packed-out crowd on Saturday for its 150th anniversary match. Credit: Jason PIXReading is set to play to a packed-out crowd on Saturday for its 150th anniversary match. Credit: Jason PIX

Reading FC has been contacted for comment. 

The Chronicle understands that the training ground will reopen tomorrow in order to continue testing the remaining players who have so far tested negative.

The outbreak in the Royals' camp follows Saturday's defeat to West Brom. The team then headed out after the match to attend their annual Christmas party, this newspaper understands. 

According to latest figures, 178 new cases of Covid were reported in Reading yesterday. 

Now as the situation continues to develop, Reading's upcoming match with Luton Town stands on uncertain footing.

Set for a bumper crowd of more than 20,000 fans in celebration of the club’s 150th anniversary, there is concern among the camp about whether the game will go ahead as planned.

The Chronicle understands that there will be an expectation from the EFL for the game to go ahead as long as Reading has 14 fit and eligible players available. 

While this number could include youth players, the belief is that the EFL will also take into consideration the integrity of the competition and may allow for postponement if it is felt that Reading cannot put out a reasonable side with enough senior players to adequately compete. 

It is understood that each club and their individual circumstances are dealt with on its own merit rather than following any sort of template procedure.

In addition, it is understood that the final decision is up to the individual clubs meaning that Reading will ultimately have to make the call as to whether the game can go ahead on Saturday afternoon.

However, last weekend’s match with West Brom still went ahead despite several positive Covid results in the Baggies’ camp. Manager Valerien Ismael later stated that they attempted to postpone the match. 

"We tried to postpone the game," he said. "It wasn’t only positive cases – some had symptoms as well. We explained to the EFL, and the doctor from the EFL said it was an outbreak.

"Normally you think ‘safety first' and you have the responsibility for the opponent as well but we had to accept it."