Manchester United's return took a big step forward last night when the results of the second round of coronavirus testing revealed only two new cases in all Premier League clubs.
996 players and staff were tested on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday – 248 more than in the first game – with only one positive result in two different clubs.
The news means that clubs are likely to get the go-ahead for step two of the training logs when the 20 clubs meet for a conference call on Wednesday.
The government is expected to issue guidelines for this second phase in time for this Wednesday meeting, which should include player contact.
If full contact training can take place early Thursday, the clubs will only have two weeks to prepare if they are to meet the original target date for a return to the game on June 12th. It is now more likely that this will be pushed back by about a week. Arsenal's Dani Ceballos said in an interview this week that they were told they would be playing their first game on June 20.
When the Red Devils become active again, it is now more than likely that they will not be in neutral places, as the government previously requested. Many clubs are very resilient to this idea, particularly given The Telegraph's claim that each club could lose up to £ 70m in sponsorship revenue if the season does not end on its own site.
"Some clubs offer their sponsors advertising space or commercial advantages on a Rota basis, which means that moving away from the home stadium of this club would almost certainly prevent these agreements from being fulfilled," says the sales outlets.
"Clubs can expect an estimated commercial loss of up to £ 70m if matches are played on neutral ground."
Having lost around £ 26m in broadcast revenue due to the season's postponement, the clubs can hardly afford to lose more.
With Liga Portuguesa starting again on June 3rd and the Spanish La Liga and Italian Serie A resuming at the weekend from June 12th to 14th, there must be every chance that England's top flight will continue in the next three and a half weeks starts.
United's first game is likely to be a tough away game at Spurs, with fans seeing Bruno Fernandes for the first time alongside Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford.
United may have to end its Premier League season for neutral reasons as the authorities try to keep players safe. How much do you know about the games the Red Devils have never played at home or away in the past? Take our quiz to find out.