SCOTT Parker insists Cherries feel "comfortable" with facing Middlesbrough this weekend, despite an ever-increasing rise in coronavirus cases.

Following the rapid spread of the Omicron variant across the UK, football fixtures across the country have been hit this week.

That includes in the Championship, where, at the time of writing, five of this weekend's 12 scheduled fixtures have been postponed due to outbreaks of COVID-19 among various clubs.

Cherries' clash with Boro at Riverside Stadium is, as it stands, one of the seven still set to go ahead, kicking off at 12.30pm on Saturday.

Asked if there were any positive COVID cases among Cherries' squad and staff, Parker told the Daily Echo: "Not at the moment, no. At the moment we’re okay.

"We’re currently in a situation where things seem to be changing pretty quickly or can change pretty quickly and we’re probably back to where we were only a year ago or however long ago, I’ve lost track of time to be honest with you.

"It seems like a long time we’ve been in this situation.

"It seems like things are getting a little bit worse but we’re all right at the moment."

In the Premier League, players and staff undergo lateral flow tests every day before entering the training ground, but rules have not been so stringent in the EFL.

"Testing wise, we’re not being tested," Parker confirmed.

"In-house we have protocols and we’re following and adhering to them, obviously trying to keep the players and our bubble and our team in a safe place really.

"So we’re following everything we can follow and put in place as a football club and obviously going by guidelines.

"If there is someone with symptoms, we’ll lateral flow and we’ll act accordingly from there on what we need to do. That’s all we’re doing at this moment in time."

The EFL have this afternoon announced new guidance, laying out how protocols will be altered going forwards.

There will be more regular testing of players while rules have been clearly explained that "clubs will be expected to play where it has 14 players including a goalkeeper available from the club’s registered squad list."

Asked if he and his players were comfortable with travelling to Middlesbrough and taking to the field this weekend, despite the rise in COVID cases elsewhere, Parker said: "Yeah, I’m comfortable. The players seem comfortable.

"At this present moment in time, this is where it sits for us. We’re following everything that we physically can follow.

"I don’t feel in any way vulnerable. I can only speak for myself really.

"I can’t speak for players, but no-one has suggested otherwise to me.

"Each and every person and individual has got their reasons. At this present moment in time, I’m fine with things."

He added: "I understand teams will have big breakouts and are struggling to fulfil teams. I get that can be tricky.

"At this current moment in time, the last thing I would want is for us to stop playing football. I say that in the sense of safety and players and every person’s safety should be paramount and at the forefront.

"But for myself, I feel in a safe environment here. That’s exactly how I see it currently.

"I can only comment on how I’m feeling and what I’m around. My views may change in a week’s time, you may sit here and ask me another question and I may be totally different to that due to my circumstances.

"But currently, where I am and where I sit and how I feel about this current situation, I don’t feel much different to where it was at the height.

"I can’t even remember how long ago it was and we were playing then."