Kettering Town pull out of FA Cup after squad hit by coronavirus outbreak

The FA Cup trophy.
The FA Cup trophy. Credit: PA

Kettering Town have taken the "difficult decision" to pull out of this season's FA Cup after their squad was decimated by a coronavirus outbreak.

The Poppies were due to face fellow Northamptonshire side Brackley Town in the third qualifying round on Tuesday night.

However, Brackley will now get a bye to the next round after Kettering decided to forfeit their place.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the club confirmed they'd decided to withdraw from the cup following a number of "Covid infections within the camp."

Players and staff will now have to self-isolate.

"This is not a decision that the board have taken lightly and we can assure everyone that we have investigated every option available to us (youth players, loan players etc) but sadly a satisfactory solution could not be found," a spokesperson said.

"Our planned trip to Brackley Town tomorrow evening is therefore off and our cup exploits for the 2020-2021 competition have come to a premature and frustrating end.  The club wish all those infected a speedy recovery and look forward to being in a position to fulfil future commitments.

"This is the hardest decision this board has had to make but as well as protecting our players along with those at Brackley Town we also have an obligation to protect the integrity of the game and taking everything into account this is sadly the only option available."

Kettering's Vanarama National League North match against Southport was also postponed on Saturday, and their trip to AFC Flyde this weekend won't be able to take place either.

The club are hopeful that the situation will be resolved by the time they face Guiseley on October 24.