The Premier League have confirmed that two more players have tested positive for coronavirus following the second round of testing.
'Small-group training' is well underway across the league, so tests are being carried out on a frequent basis. The first batch of tests revealed six cases from three clubs, with three of those - Adrian Mariappa and two staff members - coming from Watford.
A statement on the league's official website revealed that, after the number of tests available for each club was bumped up from 40 to 50, 996 players and staff were tested for the virus between 19 and 22 May, and two cases from two different clubs were discovered.
The drop in confirmed cases is obviously a positive thing, but there remains an air of negativity around some clubs in the Premier League.
Watford, who were hit hardest during the first round of testing, have endured a tumultuous few weeks. Captain Troy Deeney has publicly refused to return to training amid fears he could put his young family in danger, and manager Nigel Pearson confirmed that a further two players had been forced into self-isolation after coming into contact with somebody with the virus.
Speaking before the latest results were published (via The Guardian), midfielder Tom Cleverley insisted that Watford are doing everything possible to protect their players, encouraging the Hornets to come together ahead of their relegation battle.
“I was one of the players more comfortable with returning and now I have seen how phase one is working I feel even more comfortable," he revealed. "It’s well organised and it’s safe.
“There have been a couple of players who have had doubts, and that’s fine, but I can only be positive about it. If we are going to save ourselves on the pitch we are going to need a no-excuses mentality.
“What would I tell Troy? I would say that so far in training I have come into contact with as many people as I would visiting the supermarket or going for a morning jog round my estate. I would talk him through the details, that’s all, though I appreciate we have not started contact training yet.
"That looks like it might be a pivotal moment. Any increase in positive tests during phase two would probably put the whole thing in jeopardy.”