FA Cup: Aston Villa first team to miss Liverpool tie
With the outbreak in fresh COVID-19 cases, Premier League side Aston Villa have been impacted to an extent that they will be using the U-23 and academy players for their FA Cup match against Liverpool. The Midlands club will also be without manager Dean Smith for their third-round clash. U23s boss Mark Delaney will take charge of the team. Here are further details.
Villa were forced to close their training ground on Thursday after suffering a "significant coronavirus outbreak", with the club's match against the Reds being put to doubt. The first-team squad saw their final training session get canceled. That decision was taken after a number of playing and coaching staff received positive results from the latest round of testing carried out on Monday.
Villa had issued a statement saying that the club has closed its Bodymoor Heath training ground after a significant coronavirus outbreak. "A large number of first-team players and staff returned positive tests after being routinely tested on Monday and immediately went into isolation. A second round of testing was carried out immediately and produced more positive results today," the club said.
There were initial fears that the match would have to be called off, however, they will field a team of younger players just as Championship side Derby plan to do when they take on non-league Chorley. Liverpool coach Jurgen Klopp said his side had no positive cases before they travel to Villa Park. The results from the latest tests are yet to come in.
A number of Premier League clubs have seen their matches get postponed of late in relation to the coronavirus. Four matches were postponed in December. Villa's match against Newcastle was called off after an outbreak at the Magpies' training ground. Manchester City had to postpone their match against Everton. Two of Fulham's fixtures against Tottenham and Burnley were also postponed.