FOOTBALL clubs cannot afford to cut corners with Covid protocols even as cases fall, warns Karl Robinson.

The English Football League (EFL) returned its first full set of negative tests in the week commencing March 15, but the virus reared its head for Oxford United’s Sky Bet League One clash with Lincoln City last Friday.

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Visiting players Adam Jackson and Callum Morton tested positive in the build-up and the Imps did not use the Kassam Stadium’s away dressing room as a precaution.

There is no suggestion Lincoln broke Covid rules, but Robinson knows clubs must remain as vigilant as ever.

The U’s head coach said: “At any stage when you think you’ve cracked this you’re going to make mistakes.

“I know at certain clubs how minor the contact has been amongst staff and it has generated a massive outbreak within the training ground.

“I think that’s why every time you hear positive news there’s negative news on top of it, it’s to keep people on their toes.

“That’s the only way these numbers are going to be reduced.

“We’ve got to stay as professional and disciplined as ever to make sure we do the right things.

“You’ve got to be so, so careful and can’t take your foot off the gas.”

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Including the two cases at Lincoln, the EFL returned three positive tests last week.

It comes as lockdown restrictions were eased on Monday, with the stay-at-home guidance lifted and restrictions on team sports and meeting outdoors relaxed.

United have not had a game called off because of Covid since the visit of Doncaster Rovers was postponed from January 5, the fifth time this season one of their fixtures had fallen foul of the virus.

Robinson went on BBC Radio 4 to have his say, claiming some clubs were getting ‘sloppy’ with social distancing guidelines and calling for the EFL to step up spot checks.

At that time regular testing was not in place, but the league began a programme of twice-weekly swabs on January 11.