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Maidstone United have started testing their players for Covid-19

Maidstone United have launched their own Covid-19 rapid-testing programme in a bid to keep the virus at bay.

Separate tests - a nose and throat swab and a finger-prick - not only highlight positive cases but also detect who’s already had coronavirus at the National South club.

Maidstone United have started testing their squad for Covid Picture: Keith Gillard
Maidstone United have started testing their squad for Covid Picture: Keith Gillard

United hope the weekly measures will keep the Gallagher Stadium Covid-free and prevent them adding to their two spells in isolation, having not played a league game since December 1.

The squad were tested for the first time on Monday, in the car park, when they reported back for training after their latest 10-day lay-off.

Chief executive Bill Williams said: “We’ve imposed this rapid testing programme so we now know exactly where we are with the virus.

“We’re trying to get ourselves to the stage where we won’t have to isolate again.

“That’s the most difficult thing because, no matter what we do at the club, you never know what happens when people go home and this is the problem.

“You ask everybody to be disciplined and think about the football club.

“We can control everyone once they’re in the ground but we can’t control them once they leave.

“We’re trying to keep on top of everything so we’re able to train with a Covid-negative squad and do what we haven’t done for a long time and play regular football matches.

“We had 10 days in isolation the first time and, just when we thought we were back, bang, we had to isolate again.

“We said, ‘Look, if this keeps happening, we’re not going to finish the season,’ so we set about this rapid testing programme.

“We shall see what benefits it brings over the next couple of weeks but it’s certainly a positive thing.

“It’s something we can maybe share with the league and other clubs because we’re also reliant on others being Covid-free.

“We’re doing everything in our power to ensure we can play these games."

Positive tests in the Maidstone squad led to the postponement of three home games - league meetings with Braintree and Tonbridge and the FA Trophy tie with Poole.

Opposition cases have seen trips to Tonbridge, Eastbourne and Dulwich called off over Christmas and New Year.

The Eastbourne game has been rearranged for January 12, with Braintree on January 19.

Read more: The latest sports news in Kent

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