SWINDON Town Under 18s will have to wait until March to play their FA Youth Cup fourth-round tie away at Ipswich Town after the FA announced it has temporarily suspended the competition.

Following discussions with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport and the competing clubs, the FA said the rising cases of coronavirus throughout the country meant English football’s governing body no longer felt it was appropriate to continue allowing clubs to travel long distances to play.

A statement from the FA read: "We can confirm our decision to temporarily suspend the 2020-21 FA Youth Cup and have discussed this with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport and the competing clubs.

"The health and wellbeing of players and staff are of paramount importance and we intend to resume the national competition once the UK Government's current national COVID-19 lockdown concludes and it is deemed safer for clubs to travel.

"The FA Youth Participation & Development Committee, which is responsible for management of the competition, will continue to review the situation and we will provide further updates at the earliest opportunity."

Despite the suspension of the national cup competition, the regional Youth Alliance leagues will still continue, however, with Swindon are set to play Portsmouth away on Saturday morning.

Speaking after his side’s victory over Bromley on Tuesday, U18s manager David Farrell admitted the decision to suspend the Youth Cup was probably a necessary evil.

Farrell chose to look on the bright side after the news was announced though, and said his players still have plenty of league games to get through before their date at Portman Road is confirmed.

He said: “I’m not going to lose too much sleep over the decision because I can’t change it.

“The boys had a rest after the Bromley FA Youth Cup game, but they’ll be ready to go for training on Thursday and Friday with a view to the Portsmouth game on Saturday.

“The league games are coming thick and fast for us now, so the boys will enjoy it for the time being, and we know we’ve got a fourth round tie to look forward to at some point.”