Burnley receive major boost ahead of Leeds United clash after late AFCON rule change

Burnley's Maxwel Cornet is set to be available against Leeds United after a late change in rules ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations.

By Joe Urquhart
Monday, 27th December 2021, 10:07 am
Updated Monday, 27th December 2021, 10:08 am

The Whites are due to host the Clarets at Elland Road on January 2 (14:00) having seen their last two scheduled Premier League games postponed.

United's trip to face Liverpool on Boxing Day was called off due to a Covid outbreak in the Leeds squad which meant Marcelo Bielsa couldn't field a competitive team at Anfield.

The hosting of Aston Villa - due to be played on Tuesday night in LS11 - will also be rearranged for the same reason.

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Burnley's Maxwel Cornet. Pic: Getty

Leeds now have until Sunday's clash with Burnley to see players return from isolation and the Thorp Arch treatment room with Bielsa's squad battling several knocks.

Burnley, though, have received a major boost in the form of top goalscorer Cornet ahead of the top flight meeting.

The Ivory Coast international was due to report for next month's AFCON tournament on December 27 which would've seen him miss his side's visit to West Yorkshire.

The Confederation of African Football (CAF), though, has allowed a delay until January 3 for players to meet up with their national teams leaving Cornet available for Burnley's next two league outings.

"This decision is taken in the spirit of goodwill and solidarity with the affected clubs in recognition of the fact that they, like all members of the football community, have been adversely affected by the onset of the COVID pandemic," said FIFA.

A letter from FIFA deputy general secretary Mattias Grafstrom added: "It is also assumed that a spirit of mutual cooperation remains between CAF and all relevant stakeholders in this regard, including related to the release of players and the provision of sporting exemptions to travel and quarantine restrictions if required in the future."

Cornet hasn't appeared for the Clarets since the opening weekend of December due to a thigh injury and then subsequently testing positive for Covid.

Despite his absence, the 25-year-old has only missed one game with Sean Dyche's men out of action for over two weeks due to a number of postponements.

Burnley finally return to action against Manchester United on Thursday evening (December 30) at Old Trafford before the trip to face Leeds later in the week.

The AFCON runs until February 6 with only the Whites, Newcastle United, Norwich City and Tottenham Hotspur unaffected in the Premier League by call ups to the tournament.