The Hornets were scheduled to play Markus Schopp's side at Vicarage Road on Saturday July 31st in their first official pre-season tie ahead of the new campaign, before they face off against Crystal Palace a week later.
It was announced on Tuesday that the fixture had been cancelled, with Watford releasing a statement explaining how fans could obtain ticket refunds whilst stating that the club would 'revert to training' at the weekend.
However, with their trip to Hertfordshire off the cards, Barnsley have pulled off a last-minute turnaround, and are now set to travel to the City Academy Stadium, and test themselves against the Premier League champions on the same day as their clash against Watford was due to be held.
As reported by The Athletic, Watford have been left 'disappointed' with the manner in which City have ‘throw their weight around’ to hijack their pre-season clash against Barnsley, with Xisco's side now left without an opponent to play against two weeks before the Premier League campaign gets underway.
It has further been revealed that City had a helping hand from Barnsley CEO Khaled El-Ahmad, who has served as an executive at City Football Group (CFG) since 2016, who will now begin his tenure at the club from an earlier date after helping the club hijack the previously arranged clash between Watford and Barnsley.
Sources at Vicarage Road have relayed that the club are at odds with the Champions League finalists for hampering their preparations ahead of the new league season, with the chances of arranging an alternative fixture at such short notice highly unlikely.
Pep Guardiola's squad had been due to travel to France to face fellow CFG outfit ES Troyes AC on July 31st, but due to changes in UK quarantine rules for travellers returning from France, the match was called off earlier this month.
The cancellation of the fixture added to the cluster of problems facing City's preparations ahead of the defence of their Premier League crown, following on from a rise in COVID-19 cases at the club's training ground.
The Sky Blues will now face off against Watford before their Community Shield clash against Leicester on August 7th, with there being one eye on their opening day league clash at Tottenham the following week.
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