Tranmere Rovers are at loggerheads with the English Football League after Mike Jackson's side were left with no option but to field only 10 senior professionals against Salford City on Saturday.

The Birkenhead club's problems started early last week when it emerged that two first team players had tested positive for coronavirus.

Following strict guidelines, the club then had to request a further four players to self-isolate, due to their close proximity to the affected duo. Another first team player also had to quarantine after receiving an alert from the Government's Test & Trace app.

All of the affected players are safe and well.

Wirral Globe: Peninsula Stadium, Salford. Photo: Richard GarnettPeninsula Stadium, Salford. Photo: Richard Garnett

With Rovers already struggling with a mounting injury list, at least 10 senior players were unavailable for the trip to Salford City on Saturday.

But with no assurances from the EFL that the club would not be subject to a misconduct charge that could result in a heavy points deduction, Tranmere had to field a team with only 10 first-teamers while handing a debut to 18-year-old Jake Burton.

Jackson could only name five players on the bench - all youth players - and had no substitute goalkeeper.

Despite the adverse circumstances, Rovers miraculously came back from 2-0 down, scoring twice in the final seven minutes to secure a morale-boosting 2-2 draw.

Following the conclusion of the match, Tranmere released a statement.

In it, they said: "Given the situation, the Club spoke to the EFL regarding whether it would be possible to postpone the match. We were informed that if we did so there would be a formal investigation, as would happen in the case of any failure to fulfil a fixture.

"We were also informed that as there was no medical advice that it was unsafe to play, there was no guarantee that the Club would not suffer a deduction of up to 15 points as a consequence. This was not a risk we felt prepared to take.

Wirral Globe: Tranmere continue to play all of their matches without supporters at pitch side. Photo: Richard GarnettTranmere continue to play all of their matches without supporters at pitch side. Photo: Richard Garnett

"We feel it is unfortunate that by doing the right thing by our players and requiring them to isolate if they may potentially have been exposed to the virus, we have had to field a play with a very depleted squad.

"We have a concern that this may encourage others not to test players, or not to adhere strictly to the self isolation rules. We would welcome the opportunity to have a dialogue with the EFL and other clubs about the need for some very clear guidance regarding an issue which is not going away any time soon.

"It does not feel right that clubs who may find themselves in Covid hotspots may be put at a competitive disadvantage when virus-related absences are not as a result of them breaching the very strict protocols in place for player welfare.

"It also seems inconsistent to us that if a football club has three or more players called up for international duty, they can postpone a fixture, however, the same does not apply when a club's playing squad is impacted by Covid-19."

Wirral Globe: EFL Chairman Rick ParryEFL Chairman Rick Parry

On Sunday, the EFL hit back. A spokesperson for the league said: "To suggest that a sporting sanction of 'up to 15 points' could be applicable as a result of potentially not playing a fixture is at best extremely misleading for supporters of Tranmere Rovers and other clubs across the EFL.

"As the league has stated previously, it is up for each individual club to determine whether it is able to fulfill its fixture commitments. In the event a club does inform the League it is unable to fulfil a fixture, in normal circumstances, the club is deemed guilty of misconduct and charged with a breach of EFL regulations.

"If the same situation arises as a result of Covid-19 positive tests, the league would firstly look at the specific circumstances before determning whether the club was to be subject to a charge.

"In both scenarious, it would be an Independent Disciplinary commission, not the ELF, that would determine any sanction, if applicable, having heard representations from both parties."

Following the release of their statement on Saturday evening, Tranmere Rovers have said that they won't be commenting any further on the issue.