Aston Villa to carry out further tests after nine players test positive for coronavirus

Villa’s upcoming Premier League fixtures against Tottenham and Everton are in doubt after it emerged nine first-team players tested positive for coronavirus.

Aston Villa CEO Christian Purslow
Aston Villa CEO Christian Purslow

The club have been forced to shut their Bodymoor Heath training ground and will field their youth team in Friday’s FA Cup third round tie against Liverpool following a significant outbreak in their first-team bubble.

Tests carried out earlier this week revealed 14 members of staff, including nine players, were carrying the virus.

With the first-team squad now isolating, further testing is due to be carried out over the weekend.

Villa host Tottenham next Wednesday and Everton a week on Saturday and chief executive Christian Purslow conceded it was too early to say whether either match would go ahead as scheduled.

"We are in the middle of a very, very nasty out-of-control coronavirus outbreak in our club," Purslow told Sky Sports News.

"In the course of two sets of testing this week we went from clear, to nine, to 14 (positive tests) in a six-day period which was obviously very alarming and we will see where we are next time.

"It is much too early to tell (whether Tottenham or Everton can go ahead as scheduled). We are now obviously in the hands of the Premier League medical people and Public Health England and the experts who will have to form an opinion as to whether the outbreak has been contained.

"We are waiting for the next round of tests this weekend. It is much too early to talk about next week's fixtures.

"Obviously our priority today has been trying to get this FA Cup tie on, our club has a proud tradition in the FA Cup.”

No member of the club’s first-team bubble, from boss Dean Smith to his backroom staff and players, will be present at Villa Park for Friday’s cup tie.

Under-23s boss Mark Delaney will instead take charge of a team consisting entirely of youth team players.

Villa carried out a round of tests on their under-18 and under-23 squads, who both train separately to the first-team, on Thursday. It was confirmed on Friday morning they had received sufficient negative results for the cup tie to proceed.

Purslow added: "I think it is an absolute dream of an opportunity for very young players to play against the Premier League, European and World champions tonight and I am jealous of those young guys.

"It's a brilliant opportunity for young players and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play against Liverpool in the third round of the FA Cup. They will give their all for Villa, I am sure."

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